Every year in the autumn, grey seals pup in remote locations and offshore islands around Shetland and it’s my great privilege to help count the pups as part of ongoing survey. Regrettably this is also one of my busiest times in the run up to Christmas, so I don’t get out anywhere near as many times as I’d like. However, a couple of weeks ago I was very fortunate to go and count seal pups with two experienced colleagues on one of the offshore island breeding sites.
As you can see, the pups are pretty helpless and the task of the observers is to disturb them and the breeding females as little as possible – so these photos were taken quickly as we worked, using a long telephoto lens to get in for some close portraits. These pups are no more than a day or two old or, in the case of a couple of them, no more than a few hours old.