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Beautiful Surprise : October 24th, Farne Islands

Over the weekend, a lone heavily pregnant cow seal was discovered on the secluded south beach of Brownsman, near the jetty. Nothing too unusual about that (especially at this time of year), but by Monday morning all that had changed. The female, still on the secluded beach, and still by herself, had given birth but to our surprise, not to one pup but possibly to two.

On the small rocky beach, two pups were together, wet and bloody, with the mother in attendance. It was evident that both had just been born and with no other female in this area of the island, we started to suspect we may have a twin birth. Over the next 24hours, we’ve monitoring the two pups (and mum) and circumstantial evidence suggests what we suspect, we have got a Grey Seal with twins.


How unusual?

Although it’s early in the research, reports suggest that it has not being recorded before in Grey Seals as it’s so costly for a female to have enough reserves for two pups. Interestingly it is biologically possible and may just be so rare as to not have been observed before in the wild. Until now. As well as monitoring progress, we’ll hopefully take some DNA samples to confirm genetically but if it’s what we suspect, this may be something very unique for one of our Grey Seals of the Farne Islands.

On the bird front today, the islands continued their rich vain of form as a Pallas’s Warbler was discovered on Inner Farne to go alongside our Radde’s Warbler (for third day), Little Bunting (for third day), Yellow-browed Warbler 2, Water Rail and four Ring Ouzels amongst others. Its just never dull…

Photographs, David Steel

Source  Farne Islands Blog

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