Loch Fleet, Sutherland
Loch Fleet is one of my favourite places in Sutherland and let’s face it there are many to choose from. As part of a designated Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation it has an abundance of wading birds and some of the most relaxed seals you will ever see.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, you may see the young ones porpoising up and down whilst the rest of the family sunbathe on the sand banks while the tide allows. I looked up the correct collective noun for seals only to discover there are a number of options none of which seem very satisfactory: pod, bob, harem, herd, or rookery. Rookery? Anyway to my mind none of those are acceptable. The best collective nouns are somehow descriptive such as a murmuration of starlings, therefore I have decided the collective noun for seals should be layabout, as in a layabout of seals.
The birds are also quite chilled. I was photographing the seals back in September when I noticed a heron fishing by the sandbank with the seals on. Then, very obligingly, it took off and flew across the water to the shoreline right in front of me enabling me to get these shots. As you can see the birds and seals may be living in an estuary of tranquillity, but the same cannot be said for the fish.
That’s where Loch fleet is: