Hot on the heels of the remarkable appearance of a walrus just a few weeks ago in Orkney, Shetland too has been blessed with a very rare sighting of an Arctic sea mammal.
This beautiful bearded seal was first spotted and reported just under a week ago by Kevin Tulloch and the rest of the men at TBS Salmon farm in Basta Voe, in Yell.
It wasn’t until Saturday morning however that it reappeared in the same spot on the slipway, where it remained for the rest of the day.
Fortunately when Kevin called with news that it was back again I had just pulled up at the ferry terminal at Gutcher, just five minutes away. With it being such a rarity in Britain and a Saturday (and a particularly nice day too!) I promptly contacted Nature in Shetland with the news and directions and also sent word out through the local birders grapevine.
Interestingly this is the third sighting of this stunning Arctic seal in just four years. Prior to 2010 there had been just eleven records in Shetland, with only half a dozen sightings in the rest of the UK. The individual in Mid Yell Voe in 2010 remained for several weeks but the Baltasound one in 2011 was just a one day sighting.
Shetland deep inlets such as Basta Voe and Mid Yell Voe are ideal habitats for these seals as the sea bed is perfect for their foraging habits and favoured food, mollusks, clams and such like which they find on soft bottomed sea beds.
Any seal hauled out in an unusual place in Shetland is always worth a second look, especially if it’s somewhere you know you are not used to seeing a seal.
There are other seals from the Arctic that can and could again arrive on our shores such as harp, hooded and ringed seal and then of course there is walrus.
It’s amazing that the stunner that reached Orkney recently had managed to completely circumnavigate us by first appearing in Faroe, then Orkney and then just a matter of days later it was seen on the coast of Norway. Better luck next time we hope…
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 420 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News