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The Calm Before the Storm

On 4th December 2013, just 30 hours before the great storm and tidal surge hit the coast of Norfolk, Cliff Jones made this film of the seals who haul out on Horsey beach every year to give birth to their pups. When the storm hit, some seals had managed to find refuge in the dunes, others, unable to scale the sea defences, were washed down the coast as far as Winterton. Some seals perished and others were taken to the RSPCA facility at East Winch. This film shows the seals, in the calm that preceded the storm, going about their everyday activities: suckling their young, mating and fighting over partners (runs for approx. 40min).

Grey Seals of Horsey Beach Norfolk

The following video was posted to YouTube by Morturn. It was accompanied, in part, by the following text: “Enjoy your visit to the seal colony at Horsey, however remember that it is important not to disturb the seals”. This advice may best be heeded by keeping to the marked paths along the dunes and ensuring dogs are kept securely on a leash, as shown in the video.

Horsey Seals 2014

This video introduces the Horsey Beach site with aerial footage. Were it not for the access road and car park, this would be a very isolated location, indeed, as those who walk here regularly know, it is usually deserted. No wonder, then, that the seals chose it for their annual pupping haul-out. Ironically, their very presence inspires large numbers of visitors, estimated at 50-60,000 last season. It takes little imagination to predict what effect it would have on the seals if such vast numbers were encouraged to access the beach. The video also illustrates the fragility of the dunes, a vital part of our sea defences, which would suffer considerable damage if unrestricted access to the beach were encouraged.

Horsey Seals Fighting

This video, posted by AJGramps, shows a relatively minor skirmish with one combatant beating an early strategic retreat into the sea. It does, however, remind us of the less cuddly side of the male seal. These bulls may grow to 300kg in weight and may, if feeling threatened, turn their attention to humans who approach them too closely. Their bite can lead to an infection called seal’s finger which will require expert medical intervention.

Grey Seals Fighting at Horsey, Norfolk

Another short YouTube video, by Alan Hatton, showing fighting seals. In this clip, an interloper is seen off by two other bulls. It’s also worth remembering that these bulls can put on a considerable turn of speed when required and it’s a moot point whether the average human, with soft sand under foot, could outrun one, should they be foolish enough to try!

Grey Seal Giving Birth

In this YouTube posting, by Sam Hardman, a cow is seen giving birth to a pup (runs for 10min).