'It's quite unusual' - photographer catches rare glimpse of mating seals
- Credit: National Trust Images/Hanne Siebers
Photographers at a local nature reserve have captured rare images of seals mating, during what is expected to be a record year for pup births.
The photos, taken last week at Blakeney National Nature reserve, show a pair of grey seals in action on the shoreline, with more than 4,000 pup births expected this year.
During the pupping season male grey seals come ashore at the nature reserve and are cared for by the National Trust to mate, with the largest competing for a position within groups of breeding females.
National Trust ranger Carl Brooker said: "It's quite unusual to get pictures of this, particularly on Blakeney Point because it's such a pain to get to.
"People may well see things happening at Horsey in the same way, but not necessarily look at it as mating, because there is so much going on in the colonies, a lot of the bulls are fighting each other all the time.
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"As soon as the females are weened, they come in season, so as they head to the sea the bulls are straight on to them and trying to mate with them, poor things.
"I was with Hanne, the photographer, when she took the photos because I had to escort her down there as it is dangerous to be there during mating season.
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"We'd just got out of the car and I said 'Hanne, look at those two' and she replied 'are they fighting', and I said 'no they're doing something else, they're going to mate'."
Mr Brooker said last year was a good year for pups with around 3,400 born, however he expects this year to exceed that number significantly.
He added: "This year I would estimate there is going to be over 4,000 pups born, the great seal reservations across the world, with most of them on our shores, are getting the same estimations.
"They started declining in 2002 and of course that was 18 years ago so every year some of those pups will come in season now and have their first pups. They come back to the beach they're born on so every five years we're having a new batch of seals coming back and having their pups."