It’s time to see a seal!
Seal watching in Pembrokeshire
As Pembrokeshire is blessed with some of the best coastline in the world, it is also home to some of the best marine life in Wales, and the seals are no exception.
Credit: Drew Buckley Photography
West Wales is called home by about 5,000 Atlantic grey seals, and pups are born, and can be seen, from September through to December.
What to look for:
- Pembrokeshire is home to 2 types of seal - the Atlantic Grey and the Common / Harbour. A keen eye will distinguish the different shades of grey and brown on rocky beaches, or spot a bobbing head followed by a bulbous body swimming just off shore.
- Common or Harbour seals vary between a brownish black to tan or grey, but their tummies are usually lighter than the rest of them, and they have a singular pattern of spots. Their heads are rounder than the Atlantic seal.
- The Grey seals have longer noses and a straighter head than the Common variety, and it has less spots on the body.
- They vary in colour, with the females silver grey or occasionally brown, to the bull seals, which are darker again.
Where to look:
- At the foot of the cliffs around Moylegrove, Strumble, St Davids and Cemaes head there are secluded beaches that the seals feel safe enough to pup on, but if you spend the day walking the coastal path in season, and you keep a keen eye out, you’re sure to find a bobbing head, or a nicely disguised beaching seal on a pebble bank.
- The second is by heading out to one of the islands: Grassholm, Ramsey, Skokholm and Skomer are all regular breeding and beaching grounds for the seals. Boats trips either take you direct to the island where you can disembark and explore at your will, or skirt round the outside to give you a waters-eye view of the coves and beaches that you may be unable to reach on land. You might even be lucky enough to come across seals in the sea, playing with the boats!
- The third option is to enter the realm of the deep yourself, with an instructor of course! Sea kayaking sessions often reveal hard to reach or hidden areas that the seals like to call home.
Video credit: Drew Buckley Photography
In pupping season check that the area isn’t under special protection, and never try to interact with pups or adults, even if the pup seems abandoned.
Mothers will often leave their babies on shore alone whilst they go fishing, but they’ll be back before long and may be scared into deserting their pup.
Increase your chances of seeing these shy creatures by downloading this helpful guide to seal watching in Pembrokeshire.
Let us know if you’ve seen any this year, or if you’re coming back to see them again! You can tag us on Facebook or send us a Tweet!
Enjoying your time in Pembrokeshire or wishing you were here? Send us your photos with the hashtag #mypembsplace and let us know!