Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Grey Seals at Worm's Head

The main reason for my visit to Worm's Head a few days back was to observe, and hopefully photograph, the Grey Seals there. The term 'Worm's Head' is a corruption of the Viking 'wurm', meaning dragon or serpent. The causeway to this tidal island is crossable for about two-and-a-half hours either side of low tide. The seals can be seen drifting offshore (and sometimes hauled out on rocks) near the left-hand side of the large cliff visible in the following two pictures, taken from the mainland:

I crossed the causeway, and sat down on a cliff, from where I could see around half-a-dozen seals bobbing about in the sea about thirty metres below.
I set up my camera on a tripod with a 500mm lens and 2x converter, and was able to take a few pictures:

At least one pair seemed to be exhibiting breeding behaviour, rolling around with their bodies entwined, and sometimes apparently 'kissing':

I didn't want to end up like Dylan Thomas, who once got stranded overnight on this island, so I headed for home as the sun began to set.


  1. Great series!! Is the 500mm a telephoto, and how does the teleconvertor work with day light or the lack of it? Check my post today as an example of the lack of light. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada. PS I took another look and you've got some sun.

  2. Lovely photos - thank for posting.

  3. Thanks for your comments.
    Gary, the lens is a Sigma 500mm f/4.5 telephoto, used with a Kenko Pro 2x converter. Works quite well, and can give sharp results, but loses 2 stops of light, so you will probably need a solid tripod to hold it all steady and to prevent camera shake. Also, most likely (depending on the lens and camera used) you will have to use manual focus (as I did here), so I would only use this combination on static or slow-moving subjects - like these seals.

  4. Grand set of images. It is difficult to get crisp images with that set up.

  5. Lovely pictures and awesome photography. Great effort needed to get these types of pictures.

  6. Seals, such grand creatures and it looks like you have captured some brilliant images, showing off their personalities very well. The bottom image is like saying hello and good-bye all at the same time;)

  7. Beautiful pictures!
    I is so much fun to watch them playing in the water! They are so agile and move so quickly!
    Greetings from Switzerland
    Yvonne & Raphael

  8. Stunning photos of the seals! I have many grey seals that haul up on the beach below my house, but I lack decent binoculars AND camera so can't capture them in intimate detail as you have. What a joy!

  9. excellent shots, seems like you are a professional photographer
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