Weekly seal update

Seal pup Donna Nook

Andrew Wright

Weekly seal 'pupdate'

Weekly seal update from Donna Nook

Please read the Visitor Guidelines before visiting.


Weekly pupdate: 2056 pups, 1559 cows and 500 bulls.


Weekly pupdate: 1607 pups, 1568 cows and 404 bulls.
The first pups have been seen leaving the dunes and heading out to sea. 


Weekly pupdate: 862 pups, 1055 cows and 277 bulls.


Weekly pupdate: they aren't all visible but there are 237 pups, 401 cows and 116 bulls.


Weekly pupdate: The seals are staying well hidden so there is no guarantee that any pups will be visible from the viewing area but there are now: 31 pups, 112 cows and 46 bulls.
This morning, only 26 adults could be seen from the viewing area.


In our first pupdate of the season we can report that there is a pup just visible from the viewing area but it is distant and best viewed through binoculars. Please note that, for the safety of your dog and the seals, dogs are not allowed in the viewing area. 

05/10/2023 - No seals to report

We expect them to arrive towards the end of the month.

Grey seal

Thinesh Thirugnanasampanthar

Seal Appeal

Help us to protect grey seals in Lincolnshire

Yearly Summaries


The first pup was born on 27 October 2022 but stayed hidden and wasn’t visible from the viewing area. By 4 November there were 47 pups with 11 visible from the viewing area and the others hidden from view behind log grass and the undulations in the beach and channels.
Ropeneck returned to her spot on the beach on 25 November and gave birth to her pup on 30 November.
Numbers of seals began to fall by 9 December as seals started to head back out to sea.
The last grey seal pup was born on Christmas Day bringing the total number of pups born in 2022 to 2,209.


Following the closure in 2020 due to the Covid19 lockdown, Donna Nook was been incredibly busy with visitors in 2021.
The first seal pup was born on 28 October 2021. The first nine or ten pups weren't visible from the viewing area, it was only by  5 November that they became visible but still had a tendency to disappear behind long grass.
Ropeneck arrived on 20 November and was initially very elusive, spending lots of time in the creeks where she's was difficult to see. She had her pup on 28 November.
The total number of pups born was 2,134.


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a booking system was introduced to limit numbers and allow for social distancing. On 5 November, the viewing area was closed due to a national lockdown. It remained closed for the rest of the seal pupping season.
The first pup was been born on 22 October 2020. Our Warden spotted it tucked away over the dunes. Ropeneck returned to her usual spot by the fence on 19 November. Her pup was born on 25 November.
By 11 December, 2,204 pups had been born - breaking the record of 2,186 the previous year. Cow numbers were dropping as they start heading back to the sea to feed themselves now their pups are fattened up.
The wardens monitored the seals every day over Christmas and the New Year. The last pup was born on 22 December bringing the total to 2,214.

Total pups born this season:  2,214


The first seal pup was born on 27 October. Our Warden only just managed to spot it as the mum had it well tucked away and it wasn't visible from the viewing area.
Ropeneck returned to her usual spot on the beach on 17 November and gave birth to a pup on 19 November. 
Heavy rain and flooding at the end of November caused the closure of the car park for four days.

Total pups born this season: 2,186. A 5.4% increase on last year.


The first pup was born on 22 October.
Ropeneck returned to her regular spot a little later than last year.
Peak season was on 23 November with 639 bulls, 1,590 cows and 1,611 pups. Numbers of adults then began to decline as the seals head out back to the sea.
By New Year there were just 4 bulls, 3 cows and 30 pups seen from the viewing area.

Total pups born this season: 2,066


First pup born 13 October, earliest pup born at Donna Nook on record so far. 152 pups born by November.
Ropeneck returns 15 November, she gave birth to a pup on 28 November.
Total amount of seal pups peaked in mid November, with 1,692 pups counted along with 724 bulls and 1,596 cows on 25 November.
16 December, total number of pups born this year totals 2,033, a 3.8% increase compared to last year.
By 5 January, there were just 2 bulls, 2 cows and 5 pups on the beach, most seals had left the beach mid December.

Total pups born this season: 2,033


The first pup was born on 24 October. Ropeneck returned on 16 November to her usual place on the beach. Peak season was on 28 November with 686 bulls, 1,502 cows and 1,630 pups. A fantastic day, even the turnstones were putting on a display!
By 19 December about 75% of the seals had left. The high tides that week left lots of pools on the saltmarsh and the pups had a great time splashing about. By New Years Day there was just 1 bull, 1 cow and 8 pups seen from viewing area.

Total pups born this season: 1,957


The first seal pup was born on 25 October 2015.
Ropeneck returned on 13 November - in the same place and exactly same arrival date as last year - she give birth to a pup on Tuesday 17 November. Numbers of seals present on the beach peaked in late November (on 30 November there were 650 bulls, 1,542 cows and 1,754 pups). Numbers then began to decline as the seals headed out to sea.
On Sunday 3 January, there were just 16 pups left in the viewing area and no adult seals.
A huge thanks to all our fantastic volunteer wardens, who put in a total of 2096 hours – that’s almost 300 days! Thank you to all our visitors for following our Visitor Guidelines and for your donations.

Total pups born this season: 1,892


The first seals, a few bulls and a solitary cow could be seen from the viewing area on 20 October.
The first pup was reported on 25 October, he was born overnight and kept hiding. Brent geese and shelduck were feeding on the mudflats, skeins of pink footed geese were flying overhead and some exhausted whooper swans also arrived.
On Monday 1 December the numbers of pups reached a peak of 1,541. The number of seals on the beach started to decrease as they began to leave and head back to sea.
By 3 January 2015, there was just one cow and 12 pups left in the viewing area.

Total pups born this season: 1,798


The first Dunes pup was born on 23 October 2013. Pup numbers peaked with the count on 29 November when there were 1,528 pups. The last pup was born on 18 December. The total number of pups born was a record 1,676 and the surge is not expected to have a long term impact on the seal colony.

The season was dominated by the meteorologically-induced tidal surge which combined with the already high spring tide of 5 December, causing widespread damage and disruption to both the seals and site infrastructure. The surge added approximately 2m to the predicted tide height and reached well into the dunes beyond the double fence. Gates in the fence were opened to allow seals to reach the safety of the dunes and further gaps had to be cut as the water level rose and wave action increased.
The seals were severely disrupted but there is little evidence of widespread mortality.

The seals at Donna Nook are counted once a week and it is impossible to say how many of the adult and pups had returned to sea at the time of the surge. In many cases cows were able to stay with their pups, despite being displaced all along the coastline. Regular monitoring was maintained for several weeks following the surge tide, with 37 pups being taken to Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary for care before their release, and others being captured and released on the beach, or left to find their own way out to sea as appropriate.

Total pups born this season: 1,676