Monday, 13 September 2010

Bobby the Seal

Deciding to walk the dogs in really abysmal weather this afternoon (some wind, lots of rain, and very low very dark grey threatening clouds). I took them down to the sea at Birsay and walked along to Skiba Geo - a grassy path alongside low cliffs but with little access to beach or sea (trying to limit how messy the dogs could get).

On arriving at the small bay at Skiba Geo I noticed several seals behaving oddly, IMO. With a very deep and long swell several of the seals had their heads out of the water looking straight up at the clouds. This was about 4 out of 9. Obviously living on Orkney I've often noticed seals just off the beach, but generally looking around or watching my dogs. Star gazing or rather cloud gazing seemed somewhat unusual. By the way - what do you call a group of seals?

By far the largest very nearly had its shoulders out of the water. Bobbing around in a regular motion in the swell it suddenly reminded me of a "Roly Poly Clown" a younger cousin had one when I a very young kid myself. No matter how often you knocked it over it always rocked back upright with a ringing bell inside. It was very worn and had much of its paint either faded or rubbed off. I couldn't draw nor photograph the seals due to the weather conditions so I give you the "Roly Poly Clown" I have drawn upon my return to the warmth of home (image found on Internet, my memory isn't quite that good!)

So what were they up to?

a) Rocking about in the swell fully or half asleep?

b) Some normal seal behaviour I've not noticed before (I'm no expert)?

c) Just messing with my head? - my favorite option.


  1. Hahaha! Love the post ^^ The sketch is really nice and amusing although I am not a big fan of clowns =)

  2. I could think of a lot of reasons, each one more daft than the others! They could have been resting or checking the weather!?

  3. UFOs are invisible to the human eye, you know. :D Nice sketch!

  4. What an intriguing post! I wonder what those seals were doing. Anyhow, I had one of those clowns when I was a child. It's a great depiction of one! nancy

  5. clown reminds me of those toys for budgies!!! re seals perhaps they' re raising their eyes heavenwards thinking..."what do you have to do to get a minute's peace around here!"
    thanks for the follow!

  6. welcome back Ovson! Maybe seals were trying to solve a deep philosophical problem and were looking to the skies for answers. Or showing you their best side waiting for the sketchbook to come out...

  7. Fascinating behavior! I wonder what they were doing? I would be driven to google seal behavior and try to find out if I'd seen it. :) I enjoyed browsing your blog and love the title!

  8. Interesting story! I believe a group of seals is called a pod. For the purpose of your illustration, it would seem that they were just clowning around.