An unusual, yet very rewarding assignment, in September and October was being asked to photograph the seal colony at South Walney on two occasions. Taking off at some distance, I flew the quadcopter straight up to 120 metres. With the wind taking the sound of the drone away from the colony, I was able to use my Z3 zoom lens to capture the gathering in enough detail for an accurate count to be made. On the first occasion, there were well over 100 seals in the group.

It must be made clear that I was operating with the permission of Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the warden of South Walney Nature Reserve, gathering visual data for a research project being supervised and conducted by Jade Chenery, Marine and Coastal Conservation Officer Trainee. It is important to stress that flying drones recreationally at South Walney Nature Reserve is not allowed under any circumstances.

If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the permanent seal watch camera in one, and the two trainee conservation officers hiding in another, doing a manual count of the seals from behind the shingle bank!

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