Bearded visitor in Harris attracts attention

The Bearded Seal in Harris. Photo by Gordon MacDonald via BDMLR
The Bearded Seal in Harris. Photo by Gordon MacDonald via BDMLR

A cute bearded visitor from chilly shores was caught on camera this week, as reported by the local branch of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)

Out-of-Hours co-ordinator Teri Charlton, received a call on Tuesday from islanders in relation to an unusual looking seal that had appeared in Harris.

Teri said: “I confirmed it was indeed a Bearded seal and dispatched Assistant co-ordinator Sara Kwasniewska to investigate.

“I’m happy to say the seal is in reasonably good health and currently going through a moulting stage, so appears rather untidy as per the photo.

“From national records it’s the 23rd confirmed case of a Bearded Seal in the UK since around the year 2000.

“This is our first confirmed case for the Outer Hebrides.”

She added: “Bearded Seals are normally found floating on ice packs around the Arctic circle, so to see one here is highly unusual. But they are quite easy to spot with its beard like whiskers.

“We’ll be monitoring the seal as a precautionary measure and ask should anyone come across it, to please keep their distance and avoiding disturbing it.

“The seal has travelled a fair distance and requires rest while it completes moulting.”