TG0545 : Young Common Seal on beach at Cley Eye

taken 13 years ago, near to Cley Next The Sea, Norfolk, Great Britain

Young Common Seal on beach at Cley Eye
Young Common Seal on beach at Cley Eye
This young Common Seal (or Harbour Seal) - Phoca vitulina - was alone on the shoreline. For a long time it remained very still, with only slight movements, suggesting that it had a problem (the photo was taken at one of its slightly more alert moments). Also, it seemed unaffected by people (and dogs) approaching it (although fortunately it was well away from the main access point to the beach so passers by were few, and those with dogs were happy to put them on leads so as to keep them away from the seal). Eventually, as the tide started coming in, it shifted itself up the beach a couple of metres, suggesting that it was in fact physically fine.

If it lifted its head, one could see a lot of red under its mouth, and it may well have been that it had gorged itself on fish (throughout the time we were watching it, there was a flock of common terns feeding just offshore, suggesting a rich shoal), and was simply incapable of moving. Even so, the fact that it was clearly a youngster, and alone, was cause for concern (presumably it had come from the colony on Blakeney Point, but had become separated). We therefore alerted the nearby Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes reserve centre (which includes this stretch of beach). They in turn contacted the seal rescue centre at Winterton, who were going to send someone out, to at least check the seal out.

Incidentally, the photo was taken with a 320mm lens, to avoid approaching too close!
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TG0545, 74 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 15 August, 2008   (more nearby)
Monday, 18 August, 2008
Place (from Tags)
Cley Eye 
Seals   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 055 451 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:57.8307N 1:3.5627E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 055 450
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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Other Tags
Common Seal  Harbour Seal  Young  Phoca Vitulina 

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