The leopard seal

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This week at Macquarie Island: 29 August 2014

After a long Winter with an unchanging west beach littered with elephant seals and gentoo penguins, we are all keen to see the bigger male elephant seals return for the breeding season. Stories are shared each day at meals about the biggest seal seen that day or more aggressive fighting that has started up outside the workplace window, or a seal that decided the road was no longer just for the Polaris. Occasionally someone bursts into the mess to announce that there is a seal worth seeing right close to station and we head out with our cameras. 

On the weekend however we were in for a treat. Noisy seagulls attracted the three tradies on station to the beach to investigate, where there was a very large mature male elephant seal. But just 50 metres away to the south, we spotted our first leopard seal for the season. They are solitary animals so it was no surprise to have just one visit us. The leopard seal put on a show for the cameras and we spent an hour or two photographing it - the next day it was gone. 

We are looking forward to the return of albatross, the baby gentoos and, hopefully, more leopard seal sightings as we head into September.

Meg McKeown

Leopard seal lies on the sand with one eye on camera, seemingly smiling
Leopard seal
(Photo: Meg McKeown)
Yawning leopard seal showing lots of sharp teeth
Yawning leopard seal
(Photo: Meg McKeown)
Slim and sleek leopard seal rolling around in dark sand
This is so comfortable!
(Photo: Meg McKeown)
Leopard Seal sharp teeth as seen from the front with the seal looking upwards, mouth open
Another deadly angle
(Photo: Meg McKeown)
A leopard seals mouth wide open, about the length of a human head, with its nose on the right hand side of the picture, chin on left
More sharp teeth
(Photo: Meg McKeown)
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