Grey Seal Pups at Donna Nook

posted in: Outdoors, Photography | 22

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you will know that I like to make an annual pilgramage to Donna Nook each winter. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve on the mud flats and sand dunes close to Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast, is home to one of the country’s grey seal breeding sites. Each year grey seals gather to breed and pup; they come back every October to the same place and by the end of December they’ve done their work and headed back out to sea.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

I did wonder if I’d have time to visit before the seals all swam away this year but when Jenni, my outdoors loving friend who’s fault the Lyke Wake Walk was, suggested we booked a day off and met there for a walk, I agreed instantly. While the weather forecast didn’t look great (wet and very windy) we actually ended up picking a brilliant day – blue skies, no rain, and fairly warm (what is with the warmth at the moment?!). We met up in the free car park at Donna Nook and spent a couple of hours cooing over the seal pups before heading into North Somercotes for a pub meal at the Axe and Cleaver.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

Donna Nook Nature Reserve is also “RAF Donna Nook”, a bombing range used by NATO aircraft for training. Hence the red flag. And all the noise. It doesn’t seem to bother the seals, though. 

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

Seals on the left, humans on the right. This fence was completely washed away in the storm surge from a couple of years ago. The double fence protects the seals from us and us from the seals. 

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The seals, of all sizes and colours, seem so laboured on land. There were around 1,000 pups left close to the viewing area (a double fenced off path to protect the seals from us humans), some still with their white fur but most of them shedding fast ready for their life in the water. If you want to visit you have around a week or two left before there’s little to see – the best time is mid to end November, so get it in your diary for next year! Jenni and I loved how playful they were – we watched as one pup chased a bird around, and another as it splashed about in the water. The shedding fur must be a bit itchy as lots of them were rolling around on the coarse grass, leaving hair everywhere. The adult seals were not quite so playful – we watched a cow fight two bulls who were getting a bit close to her young pup, and another couple of older seals chase each other into the distance.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

By mid-December there aren’t many white furred pups left, but this one was being very well protected by its mother.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

Most of the seal pups were just relaxing in the sunshine. 

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

Some seals knew they were cute and which angle was best.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

And others were just having an awesome time rolling around.

The Seals at Donna Nook Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, December 2015 - Splodz Blogz

The seals at Donna Nook really are a sight to be seen, a visit is a great way to spend a couple of hours outdoors. There is a free car park (with a donation box, naturally), a van serving hot drinks and bacon rolls, an information kiosk, but unfortunately no toilets. It can get very busy at the weekends (especially at the end of November), but when we were there on Wednesday morning last week it was easy access and there was plenty of space to park. The nearest village is North Somercotes where there’s a couple of pubs, and Mablethorpe is only a few miles south. For more information about Donna Nook Nature Reserve, head over to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website.

If you fancy seeing some more seal pup photos, my posts from 2012 and 2013 will be of interest. There’s also some video footage in my latest weekly vlog – check out Splodz Blogz TV and watch episode four >

And if you’re interested in the outdoors then make sure you head over to The Thrifty Magpies Nest – Jenni will be sure to inspire you with her woodland living.

 

22 Responses

  1. Jenni Tulip

    Your photos are beautiful! Especially love the one of the pup posing with her fin on her face, like a model hehe.

    I really enjoyed Donna Nook and hope you inspire your readers to go take a look!

    Jenni x

  2. cheryl pasquier (@cherylp59)

    Aww I remember this from last year – sooo cute ! We had two seals in the port here in Dunkirk last year and every time we go past, we head over to see if they’re still there but they seem to be long gone. The kids would absolutely love to go here – actually so would I !!

  3. Allysse Riordan

    It looks like it was a great day and that you had a lot of fun with Jenni 🙂
    Those pups look adorable. I’m definitely marking the date in my calendar for next year.

    • Splodz

      It was such a nice day Allysse. The simple pleasure of being outside in the fresh air was brilliant. Hope you get to come next year – end of November is best I think, give me a shout when you’re on the way 🙂

    • Splodz

      They certainly are, it’s so nice to be able to get close to animals like this in the wild. Very different and much nicer than seeing them in pens or cages.

  4. Kate

    This is so beautiful! Love the seals, I may have to add it to my UK travel list! Interesting that it’s also a bombing range and they’re unphased! Guess they’re used to it by now!

    • Splodz

      You should definitely add it to your list, it’s a sight worth seeing. Yes I expect they were breeding here before the jets were flying around, I guess they just ignore them like most Lincolnshire residents do 🙂

  5. Karen

    Lovely lovely seals! I’m putting Donna Nook on my calendar for November. Looks amazing. Loved the vlog too.

    • Splodz

      You’ll not be disappointed! (You can check the Donna Nook facebook page to see how many pups there are before you visit, handy if you want to maximise cuteness!)

  6. Sarah | The Urban Wanderer

    Fantastic pictures! Seals are absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, I think Donna Nook is a bit far for a day trip from Manchester, but you have inspired me to book a trip in to see the seals at Hilbre Island.

    • Splodz

      Thank you 🙂 Yea maybe just a little bit far for one day… I shall have to look up Hilbre Island though 🙂

  7. Suzan

    Loving this blog post and amazing pictures. It is on my list for this winter and this has given me more info than I have managed to find anywhere else. A long trip from Somerset but think it is worth the drive!

  8. paddlepedalpace

    They’re gorgeous, I’d love to visit that area and see the seals one day

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