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The latest issue of FoHS Newsletter is available now

The Spring  issue of FoHS Newsletter is available on the Members’ Page.  Select Newsletter Archive and you will find a link to Vol. 4 Issue 4 Spring 2018 issue at the top of the page.

We hope you enjoy reading about FoHS activities and other topics.

If you are not yet a member but would like to support FoHS, please click on the link to the Join Us page to find out more. Join Us

Seal count 18th January – the last count of 2017-18 season

Late October into November is an exciting time as FoHS members and seal wardens wait for the first of the season’s grey seal pups to be born at Horsey. 

This year six pups born in the final week of October failed to survive, but on the afternoon of 2nd November a seal warden spotted the pup in the picture below, alive and tended by its mother, and the count on 2nd November recorded 34 pups all doing well. 

More births followed in quick succession and by 23rd November the number of pups had risen to 665.  One week later the total reached 962 – and counting!

Horsey’s first surviving seal pup of 2017-18 season. Photo by kind permission of Hilda Stephenson.

Another huge increase in the following week brought total births recorded on Thursday 7th December to 1,471. 

The count on Thursday 14th December showed the overall number of pups on the beach reducing as older pups completed their moult and started adult life.  Pups born since the previous count, raise this season’s births to 1,643 – 343 more than in the same week last season.

By 21st December, with the exit of mature pups from the beach continuing, the number of births were also down.  Pups on the beach were recorded at 1125, and adults seals 768.  Total pups born so far this season was up to 1,643. The season is drawing to a close, but a few more births are still expected.

28th December:  Lovely sunny morning with 534 pups, and 450 adult seals on the beach. Total pups born this season had reached 1,811.  We were very grateful to the ladies of the Winterton team who counted yesterday in the rain, snow and wind.

A few more births were recorded by the seal counters on the grey and wet morning of 4th January 2018 raising the total of births for the season to 1,820.  These might be the last pups born this season, but will there be more?   

And, indeed there were!  On Thursday 11th January!  In fact another four new pups were found since the previous count.  
Counters recorded:
138 pups on the beach (mainly weaned), 348 adult seals. I new born must have been missed last week as the season’s total now stands at 1825.
Of the pups on the beach, 124 were weaned, 4 new born and 10 were suckling.

The large number of adults suggests they could be the start of the moult haul-out.  Most of them were grouped together between groynes: 22-23 (Pillbox), 36-37 (Crinkle gap),  38-39 (left of viewing platforms), and 43-44 (Bramble Gap).

The season’s final seal count, delayed by winds of up to 80 mph, took place in sunshine on the afternoon of 18th January.  No new births were recorded since the count of the previous week, so the total number of pups born this season stays at 1,825 – 299 more than in 2016-17.
81 adult seals and 41 pups remain on the beach.

Weekly reports of detailed seal counts are available to members on the Members page.  Click on the Members tab and select Project Updates from the dropdown menu.

If you would like to become a Friends of Horsey Seals member, visit our Join Us page for joining information.

Join Us 



FoHS Video: Volunteering with Friends of Horsey Seals

Here’s a chance for you to learn what being a seal warden means, and see what wardens do.

Al Glenton of Norfolk Images very kindly donated his expertise as a video-maker to record something of the experience of seal wardens at Horsey.  See clips of wardens’ initial training, and hear the views of a trainee.   Listen as more experienced wardens take a break from duty to tell us what being a seal warden means to them, and how they interact with visitors.   

Al’s video captures the atmosphere of the seal colony and seal behaviour on the beach and includes interviews with visitors.  Al visited RSPCA Wildlife Centre at East Winch, Norfolk.  East Winch manager, Alison Charles, talks about the co-operation between FoHS and East Winch, and the second link (below) takes you on a brief video tour of the centre’s treatment area and the outside pools.

Click on the links to watch the videos:

Volunteering with Friends of Horsey Seals 

A quick tour of RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre

Friends of Horsey Seals wishes to express their gratitude to Al Glenton and Norfolk Images for their generosity in making this video, and to the participants and everyone involved in it.  

We hope you enjoy it!

Not normal for Norfolk

The appearance of giant-sized plastic pipes on holiday beaches is an unexpected event in any part of the world. Vast lengths of pipeline, 8ft in diameter, turning up on beaches in Norfolk caused a stir in the media on 10th August, and astonished residents and holiday-makers who were confronted by them between Sea Palling and Winterton.  While they could  hope to see seals in these parts, these sea monsters were something else! 

The unscheduled delivery was part of a consignment of piping in transit from Norway to Algeria. The pipes, up to 480 metres long (1574 feet), were being towed to their destination when the  tugboat was in collision with an Icelandic container ship, causing twelve sections of piping to break loose.  Four of them beached, the remainder were secured at sea and anchored off the Norfolk coast. Guard vessels were placed to warn passing shipping.  The Maritime and Coastguard Agency announced that the plastic pipes pose no danger to the public.  

Engineers are planning their removal and return to Norway, but meanwhile curious seals in the area are having fun with them, and the pipes are becoming an attraction for tourists.

Update 16th August 2017 …

Recovery of the beached pipes is underway as explained in this BBC News clip:

BBC News report: recovery of giant pipes from Norfolk beaches

A vast length of piping, 8 feet in diameter, snakes along the tideline in front of you as you approach from Winterton.







A passing jogger lends scale.

Broken towing cables show the how the pipe was linked to the tug.

A grey seal takes a rest as he/she climbs out of the ‘swimming pool’ created by the pipeline.