• Muriel J. Hallé

The Arrival

Tales from Grey Haven

My first minke whale of the 2020 season.

I have changed most of my routine back to morning walks since the time during the afternoon seems a bit quieter around the cliffs. My days start fairly early right now at around 5:30-6:00 am. Then I adjust my time outside to whatever is going on and how active the wildlife is. The 25th April marked my longest day out so far! The reason is the arrival of the first two minke whales that I have seen this year. I will tell you about that more below...

Look at those whiskers on this harbour, aka common seal.

Well what a morning! It started with a nice orange sunrise “again”... I still love them very much! Even though it was a nice start, quite quickly the clouds rolled in and covered the sun, which at the same time got rid of some bright glare on the ocean. Now the conditions are perfect and I couldn't wait to see what today will bring! As I was scanning, I all of a sudden heard some faint breathing close to me. Creepy some might think, well not so creepy if two huge harbour seal eyes are looking at you. How cute! I was pleasantly surprised to see another face, one that I hadn’t seen yet. “Hello little guy,” I said and the seal stayed around for about 5 minutes giving me enough time to take some very sweet pictures. I started another scan of the sea as the seal left, just to see another surprise when I lowered my binoculars.

A minke whale joins the feeding seabirds in Muriel's view.

A minke whale! (“YELL!”) I was so surprised to see the big body swim past me! She stayed around for a long while as it was the slack tide, which is the moment right between ebbing and flooding. The ocean was so calm and the birds were feeding all over the Minch. There - another minke whale! That one was quite smaller than the first one and they basically stayed close together until I saw them for the final time. My thought is that they were most likely a mother with her juvenile offspring. How nice to see them back and to start with a possible mother and calf encounter! May the Whale days begin now and the basking sharks return soon too!

Diving gannets have found a school of fish.

Oh, sorry still not the end…!

I think this otter is getting used to me now.

I have to mention how grateful I am to live in such a unique spot! Just after the first surfacing of the minke whale, I noticed something in the water. “I can’t believe that”! But yes there was an otter rolling around in the bay and looking at me while it was cleaning its fur. I can’t believe how relaxed the animals now start to get when I’m out. I use the trick of wearing the same clothes whenever I go out with my camera. Well it seems to pay off now. One of the seals saw me and just fell back asleep. I can’t quite put into words how much I love my home, nature and all that is happening right now! Thank you nature!!

All the best,


Muriel.

Here are a couple of other photos I have enjoyed taking on my walks of other interesting birds I have seen.

This buzzard enjoys the updrafts along the cliffs.

A great northern diver in summer plumage.

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