First grey seal pup of the season at Blakeney Point

new born grey seal pup on Blakeney Point
Published : 04 Nov 2021 Last update : 03 Nov 2021

The first grey seal pup of the season has been spotted at Blakeney National Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coastline, six days later than last year.

The very first pup was spotted at the point in 1988. Since then, the site has grown to become England’s largest grey seal colony, with the numbers born increasing from just 25 pups in 2001 to 4000 in 2020. It’s believed this is due to low levels of disturbance and mortality during the first few key weeks of life and a lack of natural predators.   

This year, National Trust rangers are anticipating around 4,500 new arrivals at Blakeney Point. Global numbers are estimated to be around 300,000 with British and Irish waters supporting about 40 per cent of the grey seal population. 

The colony at Blakeney has now become so large that it is almost impossible to record the number of pups precisely. Until a few years ago, the pups were counted individually by rangers and volunteers walking carefully through the colony, but from last year, numbers of new-borns and weaned pups - which will have moulted their white fur but will be much smaller than the adults - were recorded in just one specific area to give an indication of the overall size of the colony.  

New born grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point
Grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point
New born grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point

Rangers have since spotted a further five pups, located towards the end of Blakeney Point. 

Due to increasing numbers of seals each year, Chris Bielby, Countryside Manager for the National Trust on the North Norfolk Coast said:

We’re really proud to announce the birth of the first pup of the season, it’s always a special date in our year and a real wildlife spectacle for visitors. We expect many people will want to come and see these wonderful animals. We ask all our visitors to remember that seals are wild animals and can be dangerous. Please stay outside of the fenced areas and follow signage, this is not only to protect the seals but our visitors too. We recommend you bring binoculars and enjoy watching this wildlife spectacle from a distance that keeps you safe and the seals undisturbed.”. 

New born grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point 2021
New born grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point 2021
New born grey seal pup with cow at Blakeney Point 2021

The seal colony is very sensitive to any kind of disturbance, which can lead to abandonment of the pups. To help you have a safe visit, here’s our advice for how you can see the seal pups without disturbing them: 

The best and recommended way to see the seal pups is by boat from Morston Quay. 

If you decide to walk out to the Point, the pupping area is fenced off to give the seals space to give birth and to raise their pups. Please respect these fence lines and any advice given to you by National Trust rangers.  

Always keep your distance from any seals you may come across. Please do not try to take your photo with any seals, as mothers are protective and males are very territorial which could result in serious injury to you or the death of a pup. 

Please leave your dog at home if you can, otherwise you’ll need to keep them on a short lead at all times. 

It’s worth noting that the walk to the seal viewing areas is three miles on soft shingle, with no facilities. 

For more information on how to see the seal pups on Blakeney Point check out our website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blakeney