Seals: Grey seals can be seen by boat. During this time, the seals gather in their thousands on the shores of the Farne islands, with the end of October being the peak time for the pups, and the best time of year to be out looking for them. As the tide rises and forces the seals off the sand, they’ll swim around. After 18 days of drinking their mother’s milk, the pups have quadrupled in weight and are weaned. The Trust took over counting in 1970 and continues to this day. This is the second-largest seal colony in the UK. Birds: Puffins can be seen on the islands. Longstone Lighthouse is an active 19th century lighthouse located on Longstone Rock in the outer group of the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast, England. The Farnes has the longest history of counting the seals of any colony. Given the right weather conditions, the seals are visited every four days and new pups marked on the rump with a harmless vegetable dye. Fewer National Trust rangers were able to stay on the Farne Islands, off the Northumberland coast, to monitor them. Pups are born with fuzzy, white fur, which is not water-resistant. If you’re lucky you might even spot a whale or some dolphins. The seals are around all year; however, on Holy Island they are easier to spot during the spring and summer months. The Farne Islands are located just below the Scottish border on the east side of England for this Seal Diving Trip and are known as one of the best locations in the UK to dive with seals. Once we have fitted you with equipment and you have changed into a wetsuit, a picturesque boat journey takes us to the Farne Islands. If you are unsure if a pup is safe, or if an animal appears injured, please ring the British Divers Marine Life Rescue hotline on 01825 765546 or 07787 433412. Although they may look small from afar, Grey seals can weigh up to 300kg and reach 2.6 metres in length. Given the right weather conditions, the seals are visited every … A good pair of binoculars will serve you well here. Sand eels make up about 70% of their diet, along with fish, squid and octopus. They are 28 islands, some very small and some only visible during low tide. This was the first sign that they travel huge distances across the North Sea. A common method used to tell them apart is that Harbour seals are more ‘dog-faced’ due to the dip between their forehead and nose creating a snout, while Grey seals are more cat-like with a rounded profile. 2,737 pups were born in 2018 – this equates to a colony size of 9,580 based on multiplying the number of pups born by 3.5. Visit Farne Islands to see thousands of seabirds and a huge Grey seal colony. Female fasts can be over 20 days, while male fasts can be over 50 days. Storms can be devastating for seals, particularly those from the north which can strip pups from some of the low-lying islands causing mass deaths. A cautionary tale is that of the man rushed to hospital in Devon, after he attempted to pat a seal on the head and was bitten. For three months every autumn they are visited every four days to monitor breeding success, and new pups are marked with harmless dye to keep an eye on them. The nearest of the islands sits approximately a mile and a half from the beach. The first experiment in tracking seals was on 16 December 1951 when ten pups were fitted with metal cattle tags. Using a rotation of three or four colours we can work out how many pups are born, how many die, and how many ‘disappear’ before they would be able to survive. Since they can’t hunt for food, the parents fast during this time, gaining energy from the blubber they have stored up. If they feel threatened by your presence, they can become defensive, so please do not approach them, especially with dogs. However the grey seals are present in plenty, and gannets fly. Visitors to Holy Island often ask us about the best places to see seals on the island. It's tough being a seal pup. Click here to listen (credit: BBC). They spend 80% of their time underwater, diving for around eight minutes (although the longest recorded dive was 30 minutes) and hunting at depths of up to 30 metres. They may look friendly, but seals are still wild animals that should not be disturbed, particularly during breeding and pupping season. Keeping the waters clean from debris and pollution is beneficial for all the animals that share this environment. There will likely also be some seals in the water between the sandbanks and the island. Once home to saints, soldiers and legendary lighthouse keepers, the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast are now a sanctuary for seabirds and seals. We currently have 11 boats, 8 Glad Tidings, 2 St Cuthberts and our high speed Rhib Ocean Explorer. Colonies congregate on the sand banks between the island and the mainland at mid to low tide. The islands have the largest breeding colony in England with some 1,000 pups born here each autumn. One was found alive at Jaeren, 20 miles away from Stavanger, Norway on 30 December. The seals are used to divers and love to interact with them, and are often referred to as the ‘puppies of … In comparison, Harbour seals are much smaller, weighting up to 170kg and reaching 1.5 metres in length. 30% die within a month, and 50% within the first year. All ages are welcome as well as dogs. SCOTSAC Glasgow South trip to Farne Islands. The Farne Islands consist of between fifteen to twenty small islands. The Farne Islands are famous among scuba divers which is largely down to the population of around 4,500 Atlantic Grey Seals that call these rocky outcrops ‘home’. They spend 80% of their time underwater, diving for around eight minutes … This is often because they are washed out to sea by the rough waves and can’t survive as they are not yet waterproof. Where are the Farne Islands The Farnes Islands are a group of islands just off the coast of Northumberland. They spend 80% of time below water, 20% on the surface breathing. Nevertheless, it is as important as ever that we look after these animals and retain the beauty of these natural areas. During the season, there will … Look out for the island’s colony of grey or Atlantic seals hauled up on the rocks or bobbing inquisitively in the sea. The primary species seen on Holy Island are Grey seals, also known as Atlantic seals. There is also a very small number of Common seals, also known as Harbour seals, found on Holy island. In 1378-79 a seal calf could fetch about 22p which works out at about £140 in today’s money. We use cookies to provide you with a better service. Sandwich tern July* Islands: Both Staple and Inner Farne are open. The Farnes is one of the third largest colonies on the east coast of England. Seals on the Farne Islands. The work was started by the Natural History Society of Northumbria in 1952 (counts had been undertaken long before this but were only on certain islands). As you look east and out to sea from Holy Island, you’ll see the Farne Islands. The plan was to paddle out to the Farne Islands for a leisurely day of Seal and bird spotting. The Farnes boast one of the third largest colonies of Grey seals on the East Coast of England, providing a home to around 5,000 seals and contributing 2.5% of the annual British pup production. Seal and pup on the Farne Islands An annual seal census at one of Britain’s most important colonies has had to be carried out from the air due to … The Farne Islands are open for visitors between the 28th March to the end of October. Our skippers and crewman are there to help you with any question you like so pleased do not hesitate to ask. This is due to the lack of predators and a plentiful supply of sand eels. I couldn’t wait. A party of Grey seals can be a noisy bunch – if the wind is in the right direction, you can hear them calling to each other. The Outer Farnes is considered the less populated of the islands and home to between 3,000 and 4,000 grey seals. From the 12th century onwards, the seals were harvested by the Islands' monks. What can I say 2 fab dives with amazing seals. It seems in the summer, the grey seals prefer sunbathing in the sun than playing with divers. Seals spend the other 20% their time on the surface; breathing,  lolling around and digesting their food. Another popular seal-spotting place is from the top of the Heugh, and of course you might see them on any of the other beaches as you walk around the island, but that is less predictable. They sing a haunting tune, thought to be the siren songs that used to lure sailors to their death! While the pups are young, the males and females stay on land to protect and feed their offspring with extremely high-fat milk. The pup travelled 400 miles in a maximum of 14 days. The Farne Islands are located between Bamburgh and Seahouses on the Northumberland coast and are home to one of the largest seal colonies in the UK with around 1,000 seal pups born each year. As part of this work we carefully monitored the response of the seals to the drones. These islands offer better protection from storms and high seas, preventing wave-wash which can be devastating to pups on low-lying islands which haven’t yet grown waterproof fur. Here are ten facts about seals on the Farnes from one of the head rangers. Covid 19: information on staying with us while staying safe. With over a thousand Seal pups born each Autumn our colony is growing strong. From documents through to the 1500s there was quite a trade in seals and seal products. The Farnes seal colony is very lucky in that they don’t face many threats, and as such are doing incredibly well, with numbers increasing 57% over the last 5 years. The seals of the Farnes are the stars of their very own scientific discovery. In September most of the sea birds have left as nesting season is over. Seals and pups on the Farne Islands in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA) National Trust ranger Harriet Reid said: “Due to … Sadly, we don’t know too much about where they go when they leave the colony. During this time, the seals gather in their thousands on the shores of the Farne islands, with the end of October being the peak time for the pups, and the best time of year to be out looking for them. The rangers have also noticed a change in the behaviour, with more seals breeding on Brownsman and Staple islands. They are very rare, with an average of one recorded per year, however nine were seen in 2010. Despite this, the pups still have a difficult childhood. The Farne Islands are popular with bird watchers, and as scuba diving locations, with a variety of sites suitable for all levels of divers, for the seals and wrecks. Counting the pups. The first tracking experiment in the 1950’s found one alive at Jaeren, 20 miles from the south western tip of Norway, having travelled 400 miles in 14 days. Male seals have a lifespan of 20-25 years and female seals have a lifespan of 30-35 years. Have a look at our wildlife calendar to find out what you'll see when. Seals, like all marine wildlife, are also regularly caught in fishing gear and marine debris. Why not have a look at the rest of the site and please do not hesitate in … If you’re lucky, you may hear the siren’s calls or even see a common seal lolling around Lindisfarne! The visibility here is usually around 10 metres and you can experience some … At just under a month old, they develop their adult coat so they can enter the sea by themselves. Farne Islands can be almost dived all year-long but if you want to increase your chances of an underwater encounter with grey seals, Septemberis the right period to go. Between April and October, you can land on the islands themselves (May-July only for Staple Island, just in time for peak puffin season). This means we know exactly how many are born and how many die every season. What type of seals do we see? As creatures of the sea, seals counted as ‘fish’ and so could be eaten on a Friday. Credit: PA Images An annual seal census in Northumberland has had to be carried out from the air because of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’d like a closer encounter with seals (as well as amazing birdlife and puffins in season), plan to take one of the cruises to or around these islands. 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