Travel Tuesday: fearless sanderlings

 

sanderling (Calidris alba) / Sanderling

One can only marvel that these little birds are running so close in the surf to pull their food out of the sand. On the one hand, that they are not afraid of the waves and, on the other hand, that they even find food among the sand.

Take care!

 

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Travel Tuesday: looking back

In this image you can see another part of the concrete wall saving the foot of the red sand stone cliffs of Helgoland from the sea.You can also see the higher parts of the only town (more a village) of Helgoland and the 4 landmarks: the chimney of the heating plant, the church tower, the lighthouse and the radio tower (left to right). Above the island we have a fantastic colourful sky. Try to guess the time ūüôā It’s 9:32 a.m.!! in mid January. I really love the colors.

Take care!

 

Travel Tuesday: come up to me

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) / Steinwälzer

It’s always fun observing these small birds. They are walking up and down the beach. Most of the time they are in the surf zone searching for food between the stones, the washed up algae and other stuff. Often, it’s quite hard to see them properly because they are well¬†camouflaged between all this stuff.

 

Take care!

 

Travel Tuesday: ruddy turnstone

 

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) / Steinwälzer

The ruddy turnstone is a small wading bird. Here we have one in its winter habit or non-breeding plumage. They are running restless along the shore during the surf to find some food.

Take care!

 

Travel Tuesday: common seal

 

In the past, I’ve shown you some images of grey seals. Today, I have a common seal for you.

Common seals are smaller than grey seals. Males are approximately 170 cm, females 140 cm and weight 150 respectively 100 kg).

While grey seals are curious and sociably, common seal are shy and solitary. Grey seals are laying in groups together, while common seals keep a distance of 2 or 3 meters to each other, whenever possible. They are stressed when a sand bench is too full.

Gray seals get their babies during winter and they don’t cry when left alone by their mother for hunting. Common seals instead, get their babies in summer and these are the ones, called howler (abandoned seal pup).

While grey seals choose beaches for resting, common seals prefer sand benches for resting. But, sand benches are usually only usable during low tide. At high tide, the sand benches are usually under water. Other then grey seals, common seal babies are born with the ability to swim. Birth size and weight are¬†85 cm and 10 kg. So, that’s not a problem to react to high tide. They are fed by their mother for about 5 weeks and than left alone.

Take care!

 

Travel Tuesday: adolescent seal

This young grey seal isn’t a baby anymore. Compare the image with the one I posted last week. Although, it still has its baby fat, it already has changed fur and is ready to start to live alone. Since the mother left the baby at an age of 3 or 4 weeks, it is alone. Someday, when hunger comes, it is ready to go in the sea and start to learn hunting fish. Pay attention to the teeth: it’s a¬†predator!

Take care!

 

Travel Tuesday: baby seal

Do you remember the image I showed you six weeks ago? The image of a new-born seal.

Today, I have another baby for you. But, this one is a ‘bit’ older. It’s born on January 2nd and the photo is taken on January 17th. So, it’s two weeks old. Compare the two images. Gray seals get fed with milk by their mother for only 3 – 4 weeks. Every day their weight rises enormously. They weigh 10 – 15 kg at birth. Every day, the weight increases by 1-2 kg. After that, the mother leaves them alone at the beach. Their fur changes from the soft white to the ticker grey fur, dense enough to swim. The babies can’t go swimming as long as they have their white fur. After changing fur, as an adolescent they are able to go in the water and start learning hunting on their own.

Take care!