Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “seals”

Seal Counts by Infra Red


Just sometimes you come across a remarkable photograph. Here you can visualise individual seals using infra red photography.  A quick look though the internet tells us a number of things. Firstly this is not new and has been going on since before 1994 and infra red technology gives counts double that done visually. Secondly usage is expanding. Namibia capr fur seal colony is an example.

http://www.wildernesstrust.com/portfolio/namibia-cape-fur-seal-survey/

The update from March 2014 is this

March 2014
The aim of this section of the project was to introduce and test the viability of using highly sophisticated Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) cameras as a method of recognising and counting seals at a specific colony at Cape Cross on the Namibian coastline. Because this type of technology is only available to police and military units, and the only camera in Namibia belongs to the Namibian Police Air Wing, specific approval was requested and obtained from the Inspector General for the temporary use of the Police helicopter with the FLIR attached.
In February 2014, when the Cape Cross colony had returned, the pilot survey was carried out with support from the Wilderness Trust, Wilderness Safaris, Paul Van Schalkwyk Photography, the Namibian Police Air Wing and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Fixed-wing support and photography to use and compare standard digital photography with the infrared camera was provided in the form of the specialised Air-Cam aircraft.

While we are still developing the software to automatically count the infrared signatures captured with the camera, the survey was a huge success in that we were able to ascertain that the FLIR camera can easily and with great clarity identify seals both on the beach and in the water up to a few metres in depth. Manual counting of the signatures is also possible and both methods will be elaborated on in the final report. The project will now be expanded to count the entire Namibian coastline and thereby contribute invaluable data to seal conservation and management. Manual counting of the signatures is also possible and both methods will be elaborated on in the final report. The project will now be expanded to count the entire Namibian coastline and thereby contribute invaluable data to seal conservation and management.

In 2012 this was undertaken , the most ambitious survey of Arctic seals ever attempted will send scientists to count mammals that many fear are facing increasing threats because of climate change.

A joint team of U.S. and Russian scientists spent mid-April through May flying nearly 35,000 miles (56,000 kilometers) over Arctic waters that border the two countries aboard small aircraft.

The planes flew at altitudes between 800 and 1,000 feet (240 and 300 meters) to avoid disturbing the animals, and researchers imageused high-resolution digital cameras and thermal sensors to spot the seals

Farne Islands. MV Danio aground near Longstone Lighthouse


Today an 80 metre cargo ship called MV Danio, Norwegian registered, has run aground on rocks known as ” Blue Caps” near Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands. The boat was carrying timber and there are no reported fuel nor cargo spillages. The crew of six are reported unharmed. The lifeboat was called out at 04.50 am and made un unsuccessful attempt to refloat the vessel due to the tide going out. A second attempt to refloat will be made tonight.

The Farne Islands are a group of small islands unihabited off the Northumberland coast near Bamburgh and Seahouses. They are home from April to July to thousands of Puffins,Arctic terns and other seabirds, and are a great place to visit by boat from Seahouses. The Longstone Lighthouse is famous for the rescue of a grounded boat in 1843 by Grace Darling.

I visit there each summer to photograph puffins and seals. Photo credit to RNLI for the MV Danio below, and credit to myself for the other photos, which are not of the Farne Islands but taken a few miles north at Holy Island.

MV Danio

MV DanioIMG_8982

IMG_9009

Holy Island. Good access to graveyards

Holy Island. Good access to graveyards

 

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