Seal Pups Galore
Grey Seals and the Norfolk Broads - who knew? A large colony of the common grey seal re-establishes itself every year at Horsey to give birth and mate. A wildlife spectacle worth seeing, but at a distance. Bring a camera and something to sit on and take a pew in the dunes and wait - there will be entertainment!
The common grey seals love the Norfolk coast, proven by the increasing numbers of seals in the colonies and the pups being born. Perhaps the abundant fish in the sea and the lovely sandy beaches ideal for their favourite occupation of sunbathing, are added draws making the Norfolk waters very much a des-res for the seals!
The Norfolk Broads at first glance would perhaps be a strange place to see seals, however at Horsey Beach (just a short walk from Horsey Mill and Dyke) a colony of seals gather around the end of October and beginning of November to birth their pups and mate with the bulls.
For the animal lovers amongst us, it is an opportunity to coo at the sight of the adorable snow white newborn pups and over the following few weeks, watch them grow rapidly to adolescents,
their coats darkening from the white through a tawny gold to the waterproof darker mottled colours of their parents.
The colony may leave Horsey from time to time for perhaps better feeding opportunities at Waxham or Winterton Beaches and so a walk along these beaches can be great for seal watching throughout the early winter months.
Adult bull seals at this time, are very protective of their harems. If disturbed they will charge anything and anybody they think are posing a threat and sometimes this means they bulldoze over the fragile newborn pups (less then half of all pups born will survive).
Seals are surprisingly fast on dry land and pack a very nasty bite. So strolling along the beach, be aware of what is lolling on the rocks, in the dunes and in the water, keep yourself and children a respectful distance away.
While the mothers and pups are sunbathing, the males patrol the shoreline and will stalk a dog which if it runs into the water after a ball and is too close to the pups, it will be perceived as a threat - a wet dog does look a little like a rival and this could trigger an attack then the dog might be dragged underwater and drowned. If you have dogs, put them on leads and keep them close, not only for the seals sake but especially for their own.
The beaches here are lovely and wide at low tide, so enjoy the seals, give them a wide berth and should you see a pup on its own, leave it alone, it is probably resting. If you are unsure, call the Seal Rescue, but in general allow the pups to feed and grow without interference.
For more information on seal pups at Horsey and taking a boat trip to see the other colony at Blakeney Spit on the North Norfolk Coast, click the live links below