A visit to the Grey Seal Rookery at Donna Nook
Donna Nook Grey Seal Rookery 14th November 2017.
Saturday 11 November 2017
452 bulls, 812 cows and 527 pups.
The roadworks have now been completed.
The British population of grey seals is of great international importance and we are fortunate to have a thriving colony on the Lincolnshire coast.
Britain has about 40% of the world population of grey seals, also called Atlantic seals. The major British sites occur on remote Scottish islands but the four colonies on the English east coast (Farne Islands, Donna Nook, Blakeney and Horsey) are increasingly important.
Grey seals have been breeding on the Lincolnshire coast since the early 1970’s. For much of the year the seals are at sea or hauled out on distant sandbanks but during the winter they come to breed on the beaches of Lincolnshire.
Pups are born with white coats and suckle from their mother for about 2 to 3 weeks. The mother then leaves the pup. She will mate again before leaving the beach. After one week’s development, the foetus stops growing for about 100 days, after which it continues to develop and is born the following November. The deserted pup sheds its white coat. After a while, hunger drives it to make its way to the sea to look for its own food.
The pup grows very quickly but there are many dangers for a young seal pup. These include:
Starvation – if there is a lot of disturbance from humans and dogs the mother seal will not return to the pup often enough to feed it.
Abandoning – if the mother seal is severely concerned due to disturbance or if she is inexperienced, she may leave the pup. Without regular feeding the pup will die in three or four days.
Infection – young pups are very prone to infection, especially to the eyes and respiratory tract.
Drowning – can happen on the large spring tides or if the pup is disturbed and frightened into the water.
Donna Nook National Nature Reserve covers more than 10 km (6.25 miles) of coastline between Grainthorpe Haven in the north and Saltfleet in the south where it borders the Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe National Nature Reserve.
For much of the year grey seals at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts’ Donna Nook National Nature Reserve are at sea or hauled out on distant sandbanks. Every November and December, the seals give birth to their pups near the sand dunes: a wildlife spectacle which attracts visitors from across the UK.
The Viewing Area – open late October to December
The viewing area at the foot of the sand dunes reduces disturbance to the seals and ensures the safety of visitors. Visitors should be aware that the Ministry of Defence maintains part of the area as a bombing target range. The seal viewing area is accessible at all times.
Seals are large predators and are very powerful. They can move surprisingly quickly and, having teeth similar to a dog, can inflict a nasty bite – including the pups.
Mothers with pups can be very protective and big bulls can be aggressive. A mother seal may abandon her pup if it smells of huma
Photography at Donna Nook
All visitors should follow the Visitor Guidelines above.
It is possible to get wonderful photographs from the viewing area. From this location the full spectacle can be witnessed from cute seal pups and interactions between mother and pup to the powerful and brutal fights between the males.
When taking wildlife photographs it is important to remember:
The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.
Photography should not be undertaken if it puts the subject at risk from disturbance, physical damage, and lessened reproductive success, or if it causes the subject anxiety
Music……..Youtube Audio Library
Clear Air – Somewhere Sunny by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Filmed by eaglevp