Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Australian Fur Seals at Bull Rock

As Mark Twain may have said, "The reports of my blog's death are greatly exaggerated".

So what has been happening here in Tassie? Well back in December I spent a couple of days at Stanley here in the North-West. While there I took the seal cruise out to Bull Rock.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)

#1 - The town of Stanley and "The Nut" as seen from off shore.

Bull Rock is a small eroded remnant of columnar basalt sitting about 500m off shore from the historic Highfield House. The rock is used as a haul-out by the Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) and the occasional New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri).

#2 - A rather grainy photo of Bull Rock taken from "The Nut" with the 400mm lens

#3 - Highfield House (Built in 1832) from off shore

There were only 12 people on the boat so there was no problem getting good views. The skipper gets in nice and close and cuts the engine where possible. The seals did not seem at all disturbed with some even coming right up close to the boat. At a guess I'd say there were two to three hundred seals on the rock.

#4 - Australian Fur Seals enjoying the sun

Although not a breeding site, younger, inexperienced seals, occasionally attempt to rear their young on the rock and two pups were spotted on the day.

#5 - Seal Pup at Bull Rock

#6 - Bull Seal at Bull Rock

#7 - A bit of interaction

#8 - The rock is also host to many gulls and cormorants

If you would like to see more photos of the seals you can check out my photo gallery where I have posted 21 photos. The skipper spotted what he felt was a New Zealand Fur Seal and I took a shot. Perhaps you can spot it among the photos. I can't :-)