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 Blog  21  August  2010

Rare  Visit  of  a  Leopard  Seal 

To  Eastbourne  Beach,  Wellington  Harbour


Hello, I am a photographer from New Zealand, and I enjoy sharing my blogs and photographs with other enthusiasts. In keeping with the conventional blog tradition, the blogs on this site are presented in date order and include, for example, random thoughts and projects, and references to discussions on photographic forums that I have found to be very interesting. Click  here  to go to the index of blogs on this site. These blogs are quite informal, and thus differ from the style of my more comprehensive articles that are listed  here.

Rare Visit of a Leopard Seal to Eastbourne Beach, Wellington Harbour, New Zealand

On 21 August 2010, while on a walk along Eastbourne Beach, near Konini Street, we saw a small group of people who were watching a leopard seal relaxing in the surf near the water's edge. You can see the seal at the bottom right of the picture.

Here is a closer view of the seal:

The arrival of a leopard seal on the south coast of Wellington was reported on the  "Stuff" web site. This article said that a leopard seal was seen on Lyall Bay beach on 19 August and at Houghton Bay on 20 August. The article reported that, the Department of Conservation (DOC) had issued a warning to the public to stay well clear of the seal. Click  here  to see a list of articles on DOC's web site about leopard seals.

Leopard seals usually inhabit the frigid waters of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters, so they are seldom seen as far north as Wellington. They have been known to attack and eat other seals, and a British marine biologist, was attacked and killed by a leopard seal, as reported on  this web page.

The seal seemed to be very relaxed, and it enjoyed rolling around and lying on its side and on its back as shown in this picture:

The seal was not asleep as it did not stay in this position for very long! It's interesting to note that leopard seels are "earless".

At times, the local seagulls flew around the seal to take a closer look at this rare visitor:

And here are two more photos of the leopard seal, this time with his eyes open!

For further details about leopard seals, you could visit  this page  on the Wikipedia site. All the above images were taken with the full frame 24.6 megapixel Sony A900 digital camera.

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