We hardly ever see common seals at the Farne Island but the last couple of years we have seen one at least once but this year we have been able to see one last week at the Blue Caps and to make things even better we have spotted on for 3 days on the trot which was amazing.
When we do see one we have to go as slow as possible as the get freaked really easy so this makes it really hard for us to get a picture. We were very lucky on this occasion as it did not freak but it was a little bit nervous that’s for sure. Another thing I think that helped was that it was among the grey seals and they were seemed to have a calming influence. This was fantastic as we were able to get a few pictures but most of all we were able to show our guests the difference between a Grey and a Common Seal and hopefully, understand the difference too.
The common seal or harbour seal as it’s known throughout the rest of the world is the most widespread of the seals which make even nicer to see it at the Farnes. The world population is estimated to be 500,000 which is way more the grey seals, which is about 200,000. I’m not sure when the last study was done but I would say the figures will be much higher now. Last time I heard the UK population was about 50,000 grey seals and about 100,000 common seals.
Even though we do get some common seals up here they tend to be more at the Wash and Moray Firth but they can also be seen in other parts of Britain too.
Common Seal Grey Seal
Scientific name Phoca Vitulina Halichoerus Grypus
Average length – Male 1.5 – 1.8 m 2.0 m
Female 1.2 – 1.8 m 1.8 m
Average weight – Male 80 – 100 kg 230 kg
Female 80 – 100 kg 150 kg
New-born Pup 10 kg 14 kg
Average – Male 20 years 25 years
Max 35 years
Longevity Female 30 years 35 years
Max 45 years
Pupping period in the UK June/July October/December
Moulting time in the UK July/August January/March