Friday, 18 September 2020

Norfolk seals - in pictures

Think of Norfolk and you might think of Sunny Hunny, Cromer crab, or windmills on the Broads. Personally, my mind jumps immediately to seals (although a delicious dressed crab comes a close second).

Thousands of grey and common seals call the Norfolk coast their home, and they make excellent subjects for some low effort wildlife photography. They can't fly away, they're too lazy to be fussed by your presence and they tend to strike a variety of poses.

© Ryan Chapman

© Ryan Chapman

When they're not fishing for cod they're either sunbathing or settling territorial disputes, but whatever they're doing, they're usually pretty happy to be photographed from a distance.

If you stay low and move slowly you'll probably be able to get within six or seven meters before any seal will relieve themselves of your company. So you don't need a massive telephoto lens. All of these photos are shot on my 70-200mm.

© Ryan Chapman

© Ryan Chapman


There are two key locations to see Norfolk's seals:

Blakeney Point

There's plenty of information online that suggests you can only see the seal colony at Blakeney Point if you go on a boat trip, but I beg to differ. If you park up at Cley Beach you can walk the few miles west along the shingle beach. 

Just keep walking. And just when you're about to give up - after the third or forth time you mistake a distant piece of driftwood for a seal - you'll reach them.

© Ryan Chapman

© Ryan Chapman

Horsey Gap

The colonies at Horsey Gap are much easier to access on foot. The seals here are far more considerate to their human admirers and tend to hang out within ten minutes walk of the car park. 

I came in July when the whole area is free to roam, but the beach is closed for birthing season in the winter and you're asked to stick to the viewing platforms.

© Ryan Chapman

© Ryan Chapman

Happy sealing.


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