Country Corner

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Common Seals like this one are not at all common in the Forth.

Our most commonly seen seal is of course the enormous Grey Seal, Britain’s largest mammal.

Many Grey seal pups are born on the Isle of May .

These are soon abandoned to live off their puppy fat until they become adept at catching fish.

It is not unusual to see these Grey Seal pups hauled out on local beaches, an event which often sees them taken into care by the SSPCA if they are judged to be in trouble.

When this seal was reported to me at Thorntonloch beach I fully expected another Grey Seal pup .

What a treat to see an adult Common Seal, which tend to be a similar size to the young Grey Seals we see ashore.

Keeping the animal under close but undetected observation for some time, I was able to ascertain it was perfectly healthy, and just doing what Common Seals do.

Whereas Grey Seals are animals of rocky shores and islands, Common Seals much prefer beaches, sand banks and mud flats.

As far as I am aware, the nearest Common Seal breeding sites are in the Firth of Tay, but of course seals are great wanderers outwith their breeding seasons.

I know Common Seals sometimes haul out in the inner Forth estuary, especially on the Fife side, but they are seldom seen ashore south of Dunbar

and I am hoping this one is the first of more to come.

It has to be said they are a very bonny animal compared to the Grey Seal, but don’t tell the Greys I said that!

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