When you walk in the pine forest, the forest floor is mostly covered in heather which is growing about twice as tall as the heather we have at home. But then in some places there are these bright green spots of moss and cowberries and we heard an explanation to this today. Some years ago, the summer had started warm and fine and the heather were starting to wake up. But then, the island was hit by a frost night and the heather quite simply just froze to death! What happens is that when the heather starts to grow, it pumps up the water from the root system up to the branches. So when the sub-zero temperatures hit, the water freezes and the branches explode. I have never heard of this phenomenon before, I mean you’d expect that this kind of heather mass-death would be quite commonplace up here in the north, but apparently our heather is adapter to the changes in the temperature even though it’s exactly the same species of heather as on Gotska Sandön.
In the morning we still got a bit of rain, but by the time we reached the seal colony, the sun was out. The seal colony is a protected area inside the national park, you’re not allowed go inside that area at all apart from the duckboards leading to the hide. They built the hide quite recently, before that you needed a telescope to see anything at all as the viewpoint was so far away. It was really nice to be there, finally it was warm and then of course it was very special to see the huge grey seal resting on a rock off the shore. I wasn’t even disappointed to find out that yesterday there had been over 40 seals in this location, and I heard stories of a 100 seals at some time. One grey seal is 100% more than I have ever seen before! Only problem was of course that I didn’t have a long lens with me, that was with purpose – I just didn’t want to drag one around. So these seal pictures are severely cropped from the originals which were shot with a 100mm macro on crop sensor and 240mm on full frame. Not such a big loss anyway, with what the wind and harsh light. 😉
Steps taken today: 39370