Thursday, November 18, 2004

Pup tally = 165 (153 still alive, 12 dead)

We completed our 3rd population survey today and saw 344 seals - not much different than the 1st 2 surveys we had done. Many more pups are now left alone while the moms are diving. Often we see the pups lying next to the holes, with mom surfacing occasionally to check on them. A few of the pups have totally molted and appear more or less independent. This season's weather in general, and particularly in the last few days, has been incredibly warm. Melt pools are showing up everywhere, including around our camp. The colonies are getting trickier to navigate, as many of the seals lounge in the middle of the slushy melt ponds, making it difficult for us to read their tags. This photo shows one little ice cave we recently discovered at Big Razorback with quite a bit of open water and a few seals hanging around.

Here is one enthusiastically nursing pup with a girth approaching that of its mother (this pup is 27 days old):

Here is a photo of our crew last week before Jay, Bob and Jim headed back to the States. Bob, Jim, and Jay are in the back and Kelly, Mark, Terra and I are in the front.

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