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

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