Wednesday 10 November 2010

GREY SEALS in Lincolnshire

It was time to forget about the birds today and concentrate my efforts on a moaning collection of stinking, bloated mammals.  No, I was not heading to work in Birmingham today, we were paying the RAF bombing range at Donna Nook a visit.  The wildlife spectacle of over 3,000 Grey Seals did not disappoint. There is always something to enjoy in a seal colony whether it be bulls squabbling over a particular patch of beach or a cute, little baby being scratched on the head by its attentive mum.  A number of young showed incredibly well in the dunes, including one curious youngster that came within inches.  It is so tempting to give one a quick fondle but it is important you step away.  If the mother smells human scent on a youngster it will quite often abandon it.  

A Grey Seal pup gets some nourishment from its mammy.

Just a sample of the huge Grey Seal colony at Donna Nook.

A recently 'squeezed out' Grey Seal pup..... complete with birth gore.

As well as the seal spectacular the bird life is also pretty impressive along this stretch of the Lincolnshire coast.  Wildfowl included around 450 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the mudflats and skeins of Pink-footed Geese passing overhead as well as the expected Common Shelduck.  Waders included 25 European Golden Plover, 30 Eurasian Curlew, around 180 Common Redshank, 25 Knot, 80 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling and the odd Turnstone.  Unfortunately there was no sign of any Shorelark or Snow Buntings on this occasion but a group of 40 Twite were great to see, especially as the group surprisingly contained a stunning adult Mealy Redpoll.  Other passerines included a single Water Pipit and a Brambling as well as good numbers of European Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Tree Sparrow.  A probable Lapland Bunting also whizzed overhead at one stage.

The bonus bird of the day was a CATTLE EGRET that we stumbled upon just inland of the car park near the farm buildings.  The bird showed well at times but was quite flighty on occasions.  Eventually though it would return to its favourite cow fields to feed.  All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable day out in the stunning, autumn sunshine albeit with an icy northerly wind thrown in.

A Grey Seal pup gets a back scratch from mum.

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