Cornwall Seal Group (What to do if you see a pup.. Everyone please click here)

Seal links...

Where have all our seals gone?

Seals just want to have fun...

New coat for designer label

Fatal falls...please take care!

Sue's 'Seal Secrets' reprinted

Seal stories archive...

Downloads (lots more
information here)...

As featured on TV (click here to see which programmes)

Seal watching - why and how

The Cornish coast is home to many small colonies of Grey Seals. I am lucky enough to live within 10 minutes drive of one such colony on the North Cornwall Coast.

Seal watching grew on me slowly! Even now I cannot explain their attraction and hold over me. I began by enjoying seals bobbing effortlessly in the surf, but it wasn't long before I needed a pair of binoculars. These proved to be a revelation as one day down by Gwennap, I discovered that seals haul out onto the tidal rocks just offshore. I think this was a turning point for me, as my natural curiosity kept raising questions about the seals I was seeing.

Why are the seals hauling out?

When do they come out of the water?

Is that the same seal that I just saw?

Why do seals reappear in the same bit of water at regular intervals?

..... and so on......

Seal watching - why and how

I used to go out to watch the seals at the weekends, on holidays and after work in the Summer, but I am currently taking a year out to analyse the seal data I already have, to check we understand all the stories it has to tell. I aim to build up a comprehensive picture of the one seal haul out that I visit regularly. I want to become familar with the intricate patterns in the lives of the seals at this location and to gather some basic data in an attempt to begin to explain the patterns and behaviours I observe. A cornerstone of my work is the ability to identify individual seals. Every grey seal has a unique set of fur patterns on its coat, which it keeps for all of its adult life, despite moulting its fur completely on an annual basis. I digiscope and video seals visiting the haul outs, and at home use my laptop, to match the new photos taken with those already in the seal database. It has taken me over 8 years to build up a catalogue of more than 600 different grey seals, against which newly sighted seals can be compared. At last, identifying a proportion of the seals present at any one time has become a regular occurence, so patterns of visits, groupings and behaviours are beginning to emerge.

Many thanks to Simon for creating the Flash animations on this page,
click here to see his photos.


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