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Grey Seal

Grey Seal
Photo Information
Copyright: Joe Kellard (joey) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-08
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon Powershot S3 IS
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-16 1:47
Viewed: 3490
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I finally got my hands on some Welsh photos so here is Grey Seal.

The Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus. Its name is alternatively spelled Gray Seal and it is also known as Atlantic Grey Seal.

In Britain and Ireland, the Grey Seal breeds in several colonies on and around the coasts; notably large colonies are at the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast (about 6,000 animals), and North Rona off the north coast of Scotland and Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin. It is the largest native mammal of the British Isles, with the bulls reaching 2.53.3 m long and weighing up to 300 kg; the cows are much smaller, typically 1.62.0 m long and 100150 kg weight. It is the typical seal of the northern and western coasts, the Common Seal being more often seen off southeastern coasts.

In the Western North Atlantic, Grey Seals are typically found in large numbers all along the coast of North America up to about the coastal waters of New Jersey in the United States. In Canada, they are typically seen in areas like the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland and the Maritimes, and Quebec. In the United States one finds them year round off the New England coasts (in particular Maine and Massachusetts) and slightly less frequently in the Middle Atlantic States, though their natural range extends to Virginia. During the winter months they can be seen hauled out on the rocks, islands, and shoals not far from shore, like great grey bananas in the sun, and occasionally coming ashore to rest. In the spring the recently weaned pups and yearlings occasionally strand on beaches after becoming "lost".

Grey seals feed on a wide variety of fish, mostly benthic or demersal species, taken at depths down to 70m (230ft) or more. Sandeels (Ammodytes spp) are important in their diet in many localities. Cod and other gadids, flatfish, herring(citation needed) and skates are also important locally. However, it is clear that Grey seals will eat whatever is available, including octopus and lobsters(citation needed). The average daily food requirement is estimated to be 5kg (11lb), though the seals do not feed every day and they fast the breeding season.

The pups are born in autumn (September to November) in the eastern Atlantic and in winter (January to February) in the west, with a dense, soft silky white fur; at first they are small and shrivelled-looking, but they rapidly fatten up to look like over-filled barrels, from the extremely fat-rich milk they receive from their mothers. Within a month or so, they shed the pup fur and grow the dense waterproof adult fur, and soon leave for the sea to learn to fish for themselves. In recent years, the number of grey seals has been on the rise in the west, and in Canada there have been calls for a seal cull, however this does not appear to be coming to fruition any time soon.

In the United States grey seal numbers are increasing as well; they have been protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for several years and it is still illegal to harm one. Before the act there were only a few isolated colonies in Maine and nowhere else. Today they are seen increasingly near New York and New Jersey waters and it is very likely they will establish colonies further and further south provided the main Canadian pupping grounds are not molested. It is also not very likely a seal hunt shall be instituted any time soon in the U.S.

In the UK there have also been calls for a cull from some fishermen, claiming that stocks have declined due to the seals. A recent paper, however, from the SMRU at St Andrews University [ http://smub.st-and.ac.uk/]clarifies that seals take less than 1% of the total stock biomass in the North Sea. The real problem is over fishing.

Although aggressive at times (notably bull seals fighting for mating rights shortly after pupping) seals can be intelligent, inquisitive and very gentle. Seals use their mouths, delicate whiskers and clawed front fins to explore objects.

Thankyou for your comments

Proframe, Jamesp, jmirah, Kathleen, angybone, PaulH, marhowie, eqshannon, pierrefonds, uleko, Silke, jaycee, vanderschelden, ridvan, nglen, rousettus, gannu has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To PaulH: 4mjoey 1 08-16 05:43
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Joe,
What a gorgeous image of this seal.
Lovely pose in wich he's floating on the water looking towards you and the viewer.
Great shot with wonderful light and the panoramic format works perfectly on this one.
Perfect clarity, sharpness and exposure.
Lovely details and great note.
Thanks for sharing.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-08-16 2:39]

Hi Joe

Great pose and focus here. The colours are good too.

Good use of framing.


Hi Joe,
Beautiful capture of the seal. Excellent detail and color in this action photo. Outstanding POV, I feel almost like I'm in the water with the seal. Great note. Very well done.


Hi Joe.
Wonderful image, ditto to the panorama working well for this. Super sharp, great exposure and the pose of him looking right at you is wonderful.


Great pov and what a friendly look on his face. Wonderful pose - great color.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-08-16 4:39]
  • [+]

Hi Joe,
great POV and the crop works well. The colour of the water is great as is the light. How far away from him were you?

hello joe,
very fine post of the grey seal, looks like the seal is posing for you, well composed shot, nice pov,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hi Joe,
Cool shot of this seal, he's looking straight at you here. The wide frame comp works very well for this one. Great detail, color, and exposure.
Very well done.

What are the chances he would look at you when you called him?!:-) Very good expression and click at same time. Nicely colored water. Super shot Joey!


Hi Joe,

A good POV of the grey seal, the photo has a good composition, DOF and nice colors. Thanks for sharing.


Buen enfoque y oportuna toma. Los colores se ven reales. Bonito documento.
Saludos Joe.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-08-16 6:19]

Hello Joe,
Lovely capture of this seal watching you from the blue waves. I expect you shot this one off the coast in Pembrokeshire where I saw them for the first time in the wild!! Fine light and great sharpness. Good note too.
Many thanks, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-08-16 7:23]

Wow! Superb shot! Great eye contact here and I love the tight crop that keeps the focus on the subject

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-08-16 7:39]

Hi Joe,

Wonderful capture of this seal who seems to have turned his head to look right at you. It is really a wonderful pose. I love the splashes that he is creating in the beautiful water. A great shot!


Good content. Well composed. Seems to be in the mood, this fellow...

  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-08-16 11:34]

selam joe , excellent shot and very good composition nice pov and bg with splendid colours.good details presented
Well done !
Regards ridvan

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-08-16 12:13]

Nice picture. Detail, focus, shrpness are perfect.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-08-16 13:07]

Hi Joe. He is looking at you he must like his photo taken. good rich colours in the sea you have made good use of the light. well done TFs. very good notes to read too.

What a cute capture this is Joey! I like this great eye contact, beautiful colors, good exposure and this funny pose from your cute little model. I think that you are lucky to have seen this interesting animal. Well done and TFS,

Hi Joe,
Congratulations for your capture. this is very nice shot of this lovely seal. Good details and composition. colors and POV very nice. good notes. thanks. have a nice weekend. AHmet

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-08-17 20:45]

Hi joey, Now you are back into your business. Excellent shot and well defined composition. Thanks for sharing. Ganesh

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