Saturday, 28 December 2013

Seals at Winterton - Norfolk Coast

A terrific walk along the coast at Winterton. Having learnt our lesson last year we chose to avoid Horsey, as the popularity of the seal pupping draws an astonishing crowd over the Christmas holiday. The seals here, and along the coast at Blakeney spit, have raised well over 1000 pups this year and although many were briefly washed away by the pre-Christmas tidal surge and storm it now appears that most managed to find shelter, although some were rescued. Walking along the big open beach was as beautiful and inspiring as ever with the children running ahead and the boys leaping off the sand dunes. A large bull seal watched us from the surf as it made it's way along the coast, the large black head appearing briefly with a snort and a peak at us on the sand looking back. As the dunes levelled out into a series of sheltering rises we began to find evidence of this years breeding, 3 seal carcases in quick succesion, all young and probably only a month of 2 old having recently developed their dappled coat. The young seals, born at about 30lbs, put on 4.5lbs a day feeding from their mothers 60% fat milk. Once they reach about 100lbs and loose their white coats the mothers abandon the pups inthe dunes where they remain in little groups until they are hungry enough to make their way to the sea and begin the next stage of their lives. Although only about 5% die as young pups, 50% don't make it through the first year, a measure of the rough start they must get when they first crawl into the wintery North Sea. It's always tremendously exciting to see the seals in the dunes and particularly so with our children, knowing that they will remember these moments on this beautiful shoreline and perhaps bring their own children back in years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment