Sunday, 9 November 2014

9th of November: Seal pups galore and so much more ...

From 11am onwards it's been a beautiful, calm and sunny day here on Blakeney Point - perfect for a Grey Seal pup count.  On the 1st November our first two seal pups were born, now on the 9th the rookery (the name given to a seal colony) is looking much livelier with 110 pups counted.

 The rookery - building in numbers.

Below is a new pup on the beach.  You can tell it is only two days old as it still looks very thin and its ribs are still visible.  Pups will put on about 2kg per day during the weaning period and will soon fatten up.

2 day old pup

There are also lots of pregnant cows dotted around with bulls in attendance.  As mentioned in last weeks blog this can lead to fights as bulls defend their territories. 

Bull fight

Even before females have chosen where they will give birth to their pups, bulls will stake out an area to defend.  This bull was lurking in the dunes by himself, probably hoping that as the rookery expands females will move into his patch.

Bull in dunes

Even a male seal will suffer a lapse in attention!  We spotted this bull snoozing loudly in a muddy bath.

Snoring bull

 Whilst conducting the seal pup count some interesting birds were seen.  A late House Martin flew overhead, a Woodcock was flushed from the dunes, and on the beach two of North Norfolk's special wintering visitors were encountered - a flurry of 6 Snow Buntings and a delightful flock of 7 Shore Larks.  Blakeney Point is one of very few places in the country where Shore Larks may be seen.

  Shore Larks on shingle

Paul and Sarah

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