Cornwall, Ecology, Urban environment

Seals on the Balance of Nature.

Seals are doing well around the United Kingdom since we stopped persecuting them, like these common seals seen earlier this year on a beach in Cornwall near to my daughter’s home. The common or harbour seals are smaller than the grey seals and, I think, look cuddlier although don’t get too close! Their faces are concave, more dog shaped than the grey seal below.

Grey seals are larger, often darker, greyer and with a more aquiline profile to their muzzles and their eyes are set further back. The greys tend to lie close together in groups when hauled up on the beach.

Here is a mixed group, some lying like bananas to keep their extremities out of the surf as the tide comes in. You’ll often see them doing this perched on a rock as the tide comes up to eventually lift them off and remind them that it is time to go and hunt.

As their numbers increase their distribution is becoming wider. My other daughter took this photo in Peterborough, 40 miles inland.

Two common seals by the lock on the River Nene in Peterborough. Man is no longer the top predator of seals here, but killer whales keep down their numbers in Scotland and hunt them in shallow water, and the inlets of sea lochs, David Attenborough said so — will they eventually follow them down the coast and up the Nene? That will give us something other than sewage to worry about when we do our wild swimming and canoeing!