Atlantic Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus
The Farne Islands are the most important area for breeding Atlantic grey seals in Europe. The islands are situated off the coast of Northumberland in North Eastern England and are controlled by the National Trust who manage the landings here. The national trust wardens live on the island and monitor the nesting sea birds and the Atlantic grey seal colony.
The Farne Islands can be accessed from Seahouses, a small fishing port on the Northumberland coast. There are many boat operators in the port to take you out to the Farne Islands. The operator I use is Serenity Boats http://www.farneislandtours.co.uk/ they operate a catamaran which is a more stable vessel than the other conventional boats. Because of the increased stability it is better for photography purposes photographing birds on the water and in particular for photographing the Atlantic grey seal
The Farne Islands is home to between 3000 and 4000 Atlantic grey seals, this is 50% of the worlds population of grey seals The colonies here are one of the most important in Europe, and this species of seal is the largest surviving carnivore in the British Isles. They live here on the Farne Islands all year round and during the pupping season of late October and November when they give birth to almost 1500 pups. This is an increase of 1000 or so pups being born each year since monitoring started over sixty years ago by the National Trust.
If you are in the area, the islands are very much worth a visit to see these magnificent mammals.
Here are some images from my most recent visit.
Ron McCombe, A professional wildlife photographer, Ron lives in the Scottish Borders. He has travelled around Europe, North America and Canada in pursuit of his photographic goals. He concentrates his photography around the Borders Region of Scotland but travels up to the Highlands and Islands around Scotland running workshops in these areas. An award-winning photographer, Ron won the inaugural Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2010. His work can be seen in books, magazines and newspapers. He is passionate about Scotland and its amazing wildlife and promotes it in his lectures and illustrated talks all over the UK.
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