Julie started volunteering for Sea Watch this summer in New Quay and is now continuing to give us a helping hand from her base in Bristol. Thanks to Julie for this seal pup update from Dolau Beach before she left!
Hi fellow sea(l)watchers,
For anyone nearby, and anyone like me missing the sea right now, thought you might like to see a few snaps of our latest visitor. This cutie was reported on Dolau Beach in New Quay on the 11th November and spent the day lazing around and having a good snooze, before finally wobbling down to the waters edge at 7am the next morning. Interested locals and daytrippers joined me in my mega watch as I wanted to enjoy my last day of sealdom. Passing dolphins and bright rainbows combined to make it an extra special day.
Atlantic Grey seals frequent the Ceredigion coastline, pupping from August onwards in the sea caves and mostly on isolated beaches. Seal pups may appear to be abandoned but Mum is usually not far away, as was the case this time. Seals very often haul out on beaches to rest and digest their food and this is perfectly normal behaviour. Pups rely on their mother’s milk for the first 3-4 weeks which is more than 50% fat. Once weaned, they will moult their fluffy white coats and eventually go out to sea to hunt.
Sadly seals on the beaches are sometimes disturbed by well meaning passers-by. This can disturb their rest and can stop Mum coming back to feed the pup if there is an unfamiliar scent. Seals also can give a very nasty bite, so for your sake and theirs please do not try to get any closer for that ‘selfie’ or try to ‘roll it back in’ as someone suggested! Thanks to those people who saw the signs to ‘please stay off the beach and keep dogs under control’ and came to chat to find out more. Aside from looking tired and a bit bedraggled as it was just in the process of moulting, this seal appeared fat and healthy (with no obvious signs of injury) so needed to be left alone.
Having been in New Quay this Summer working as a home volunteer for the Seawatch Foundation I have been fortunate to work alongside some amazing staff and volunteers and witness many beautiful wildlife spectacles – surveying dolphin pods and newborns on boat surveys, helping excited tourists see their first sightings from the harbour wall, and spotting seals and pups right on the doorstep. For anyone considering such an opportunity I would highly recommend it! (Please check out the Seawatch website for further information about volunteering).
Love to everyone in New Quay x
If you would like to take Julie’s advice and volunteer with Sea Watch, please check out these options: