SEAL PUP

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It’s that time of year again- the Christmas tree is up, it’s socially acceptable to mull everything, and the UK’s coast has been become a hot-bed of extreme cuteness as the grey seal pupping season gets into full swing. This year we visited the colony at Horsey on the first week of December, and it seemed we’d arrived at a much earlier stage of pupping. Over 900 had been born on the beach by the time we got there, but most of them still at their white-fluffy stage rather than at their blubbier moult stage. Some even still had their umbilical cords attached, and one that we saw must have been born that very same morning. It looked so vulnerable and brand new that it was hard to believe it could one day grow into one of the enormous males that can weigh in at over 200kg.

Unlike previous years, most of the males were pretty quiet, sleeping or lolling around the shallows by the beaches. One or two however bore the signs of recent fights- their necks covered in red blotches from previous confrontations. It’s strange to have such violence next to such tender scenes between the mums and their pups- but that’s nature I suppose.

It’s still one of my favourite wildlife spectacles in the whole world, and one which seems to have the right level of magic for me to write about on Christmas eve. Hope you’re all as full of food as I am and have a great day tomorrow- I’ll be out trying to find some storks and eating my weight in roast potatoes. Merry Christmas everyone!

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