40% of the entire world population of Atlantic grey seals make their home around the coasts of Britain, especially on the rocky northern and western shores and islands. Having spent the lazy summer days out at sea, as winter bites the seals return to the shelter of the dunes to give birth to their young and do their courting.
What to look for
Bull seals measuring up to two metres in length and weighing a whopping 300kg in weight, spend late October and early November staking out beach territories. The females arrive soon after, looking for a quiet spot to give birth, and leading to noisy clashes between males who want to claim them for their ‘harem’. For cute pups, come at the end of November. The colony reaches peak activity (and noisiness) in mid-December, with fighting males and over a thousand pups. By the end of January, the parents have left, and the last of the seal pups head seawards.
Remember to bring your camera, as there will be plenty of photo opportunities here! Dogs and baby seals don’t mix, and our four-legged friends can pass diseases on to seals, so leave the dog at home. No matter how appealing they may look, don’t touch!
Where to see them
While Lancashire can be pretty bare of seals, our neighbouring trust in Cumbria has a great spot at South Walney.