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Bird Island, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
I work as a Zoological Field Assistant, and am the 2009 Winter Base Commander, at Bird Island Research Station, one of the British Antarctic Survey's five research bases in Antarctica. The main remit of my job is seal fieldwork as part of BAS' Long Term Monitoring and Survey programme. Science has been carried out on Bird Island since 1958. I work with Antarctic fur seals and leopard seals, as well as assisting with the seabird fieldwork programme. Contact me on: ewanedwards at gmail dot com

Friday, 3 July 2009

01.07.2009 - Weddell seal at Bird Island

Weddell seal

The Weddell seal on the beach

On July 1st, we saw a rare (although not unheard of) visitor to Bird Island - a Weddell seal. The animal was seen hauled out on the rocky shore of Evermann Cove. It was a juvenile female, about 1.4m in length.

Weddell seals are considered "pack ice seals" - along with leopard seals, Ross seals and crabeater seals. They breed much further south on the sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent. However there is a small population resident at the south-eastern end of South Georgia. It is impossible to say without further analysis where this animal has come from.

Unfortunately I saw the animal late in the day, and the light was poor for photography. I returned to take more photos the next day, and it had gone. It was nice to see this unusual visitor on our little island, though!

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