Cwmtydu Bay Wildlife blog.

    This page is updated at the end of the pupping season each year to avoid disturbance to the seals.

    The beach at Cwmtydu is vital for Grey Seal pups during hide tides and stormy seas. The females will give birth to a single white fur coated pup, in any of the many sea caves in the area, but when the tides are at their highest or when the weather takes a turn for the worse, they will often bring the pup up to a beach for safety.

    Cwmtydu is one of the few beaches that offers a safe area even on a really high tide.

    Once there, if undisturbed, they will usually stay. Although the pups can swim, because of their dense fur coat they are risk of becoming waterlogged, and drowning, if in the seas for any time.

    The observations made by the volunteers are proving interesting to research groups, such as the SMRU (Sea Mammal research unit).
    • We have witnessed the Bull being active in the care and training of pups, (unseen behaviour in large colonies, but seen in our small family groups)
    • Females leave earlier than in larger groups.

    The females (Cows) will suckle for about 12-18 days. Once the female leaves, the pup will shed its white coat, and take on its grey colour. It will remain in the area, spending time in the shallows, until ready or hungry enough to go in search of fish.

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     This season has to have been one of the worst I've know in twenty years. There are years when Cwmtydu doesn't see Females using the beach, and this has been one.

     We had the first reports of a pup on the beach early on August 31st. when we arrived a lovely little pup was sleeping soundly just below the steps on the far north of the beach.

     Unfortunately it's usually a bad sign if a pup is on that side of the beach, as the females know it gets the worst of the weather and is too accessible to us humans.

     The pup was about 2 - 3 days old, (it still had it's umbilical cord attached). It also had some cuts to it's flippers and under it's chin, all of which are signs of it struggling over rocks in heavy seas. My feeling was this pup had been separated from it's Mum in the rough seas the previous night.

     We watched the pup all day, and there were no sightings of the mother, despite very hungry calls from the pup later in the day, no female came. We had a chat to our friend, Terry, from the Seal Hospital, and it was decided to rescue the pup as there was another bad night forecast that night.

      Just before we lost the light a very easy rescue was executed, and the pup was taken straight to Terry, for feeding and treatment for it's cuts. From there she was taken to West Hatch, the RSPCA seal hospital. They named her Star, and she was doing well until a week later when she started having seizures. Sadly she died whilst in a seizure. Most probably she had sustained a knock to her head which had caused a bleed. 

     There were very few sightings of any females and even the boats weren't seeing many seals or pups along our coast. During September I saw two healthy pups, with Mums, on a small cove further down the coast from us, but I had also seen several dead pups over the month.

     September 26th saw the first signs of a pup in the pupping cave, but the Mum kept it well hidden, apart from a day it spent on the beach for everyone to see. The female was not happy though and moved it with the next tide and they disappeared round the headland into the big cave.

     The good news was that the Bull seen is still our resident male. He must be about 22 / 23 years old, so there is always the concern will he be back. They can live into their 30 s so hopefully we'll see him for a few more years yet.

     Two days later we saw a mother and pup at Castell Bach, but a different mother and pup from the Cwmtydu pair. They stayed, with the Bull, mainly undisturbed, for about ten days, when they disappeared. 

     On the evening of October 8th, we had a call from one of the locals about a pup looking unwell on the beach. I met Helen down there, and we rescued a young pup, about 3 weeks old. This pup was in moult but clearly very unwell. It's not a good sign if they don't put up much of a fight. This one let us very close. She was underweight, dehydrated and had some wounds to her face. She was taken to Terry's but she sadly died that night, from her injuries. Again rough seas and underweight, they just can't fight against the waves.

     This year saw us recovering little bodies, but it's not just been pups this year. There have been adults as well, and other marine mammals, porpoise, and even Whales further up towards North Wales (and around the UK). 

     West Hatch has been full, as have the other seal hospitals. The East Coast has also seen the return of disease affecting their Common Seals. Terry has taken in over 40 pups...... so far this year.    

      For all my volunteers, and for the beautiful seals, I can only hope next year sees a better year. 

      Thanks again for all the kindness of our many supporters, locals, and visitors, and the wonderful volunteers, who this year must have been so frustrated, by my....'Watch on'.....'Watch off' messages. 

    Watch off until 2020    



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    After the traumatic end to last year's season, we were ready to with new volunteers to add to to the team, August Bank holiday came and went, No pups, that's always good. September arrived still no pups, even the boats weren't seeing any on the secluded beaches. 

    September 20th 1st pup on Cwmtydu, later than last year but not late. Not a female we recognised, but the Bull hanging around  was 'our' Bull. The pup was about 1 week old, and was very happy swimming in some rough seas. The Female was fairly nervous and was constantly looking around and checking the beach. 

    The activity between this Female and the Bull was very relaxed, and most of the time it only needed a growl to see him off.

    The pup spend its time between the beach, the sea and the pupping cave. Mum would lose it from time to time, when he / she decided to go for a swim, but found it eventually.

    The pup disappeared the second week in October. We had reports from the boat operators of a few pups round the headlands on the more secluded beaches but the numbers seemed lower than usual. 

    11th October saw pup number 2 brought on to the beach, and was tucked across the river near the gully. This female was more confident and very obliging in feeding the pup where they could be seen.

    Early hours of October 12th saw Storm Callum arrive. The area where the pup was, was completely underwater, it was like a washing machine in there. The sea wasn't too bad but the rain overnight 11th / 12th was torrential, and the river swelled, bringing tree stumps, branches and mud down, the river hit the sea and swirled around, and around. Where was the pup and the Female??

    That Friday and Saturday saw no sightings of any of the seals, and our fear was it had been lost.

    Sunday morning I was so relieved to see Pup 2 swimming in to the beach alongside the Female. They beached themselves up, although the pup had to be held down by Mum, it wanted to go back out!!

    The car park at this moment had several groups of teenagers, from Carmarthen, about to set off to walk the coastal path. They were asked to stay behind the wall and drop their voices, and were rewarded by watching the Female feed the pup in front of them.

    The relief at seeing them back was incredible. I don't know where she had taken it but clearly she knew the caves and gullies weren't safe.Phew.

    In October we had a visit from Aberaeron primary School, and Sue, Brian and myself were kept busy for a while, sharing binoculars and answering lots of questions.Future wildlife watchers in the making. They were asked to pick an activity and they voted wildlife, so Dolphin spotting in the morning with the Ermols from New Quay, and then to see seal pups in the afternoon. Dolphins seen, seal pup in the pool practising diving so some saw it, some didn't, but they had a good time.

    Later that day Sea Watch Foundation, who once more helped with some shifts caught a really good video clip of the Female fighting the Bull. Don't mess with a Female looking after a Pup. Click this Link or go to the photo page.

    October 18th I managed to rescue a very large pup, from Cei Bach beach. I was stood at the very north end deciding how I was going to do this.....very, very long sandy beach....I'm on my own.......big heavy pup (facial injury, so needed rescue)....oh yes and tide coming in. Who did I know with a boat? Thank you to the staff at the Ermol's booking office, and Jonathon, one of their skippers. He came out in their tender with a big bag and we got it in the boat, before the tide got us all.

    Our RSPCA officer met us at the quay. Sadly later the pup was put to sleep, its injuries were so bad, he wasn't able to feed. At least no longer in pain.    

    We stood down at the beginning of November after a quiet year, lots more visitors spoken with, and two pups out into the world. Stay safe little ones. 


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    Where to start? This year started as a really good year, but since the pups at Cwmtydu left we have seen the worst year that many can remember, with the loss of so many pups in Ceredigion and especially in Pembrokeshire. Skomer and Ramsey islands 'lost' over 150 pups after Storm Ophelia, and the we had storm Brian.

    September 6th I had a call to say there was a pup on the beach. It was about 3 days old, and right in the centre of the beach. Effectively closing of the beach. The Mum was recognised as the female who had successfully raise a pup last year over at Castell Bach. She and the pup moved around the beach over the next few days, and she was so relaxed she spent a lot of time sleeping with her pup...on the beach. 

    The weather started to deteriorate, and the next high tide, September 10th brought a new born pup onto the beach, just at the bottom of the main steps. The Mum wasn't known to us, but was easy to identify as she has a bad scar across her nose. 

    Both pups moved around the beach and were also taken across the river at times but Pup 1 kept returning to the beach. Tuesday nights forecast didn't look promising so I warned the volunteers to check out the beach and gullys as I felt we would have another pup Wednesday morning. We did......not one, but two.

    Three pups and two Mums were now on various parts of the beach and in the centre was Female trying to bring a pup out of the sea. Lots of visitors were intently watching this drama unaware that they were in fact hindering her efforts. She was very nervous and it was only when we moved everyone back that she finally got the pup on dry land.

    Both of these pups were older, about 15 - 18 days. One on its own was starting to moult so about 18+ days old. It had either been separated in the rough seas or only just weaned by Mum as later in the day the pup started to call for feeding. Female 1 came to check it but when the pup followed her and attempted to suckle she chased it away. It had had a good rest and the sea was calmer by then, it was fat and healthy looking pup, they do sometimes 'beach hop', just to rest, especially in rough seas.

    Female no 3 was much more nervous and mainly kept herself in the waters edge except when coming out to feed her pup. 

    Pup 1 and Pup 2 soon moved over the river, leaving Pup 3 on the beach below the steps. The two Mums 1 and 2 were very relaxed together sleeping with the pups out of the water and showing no usual aggression to one another. Could they be related?? 

    This behaviour between females is unusual at pupping time and the theory that they were related could be the answer and a few days later, it was further supported as volunteers witnessed cross-feeding, something that's not seen.

    The weather was relentless with heavy seas, strong winds and heavy downpours. The Bull wasn't deterred by anything and finally mated with Female 3, who soon left the area. Her pup stayed a few more days, going out for a time and then returning to have a rest.

    Pup 1 and his/her Mum liked the river, A large pool had formed after the heavy rains and so everyone was lucky to see the pup and Mum swimming together, and at times the Bull came up the river to attempt mating with the female. Pup 2 wasn't as keen on the water, and would only take short swims in the shallows.

    September 24th saw Female no 1 swimming in with a pup, her pup was in a gully on the seaweed over the river, pup 2 and Female no 2 were in the next gully. I was now confused. She brought the pup in, showing care and lots of contact, at first I thought it was her pup but after the pup was settled in between both of the females, she moved round to the sleepy big pup and started to suckle it. The 'new' pup then moved up the river as the tide came in, and then went to sleep on the far rocks. It was quite moulted showing a lot of grey.

    Eventually we were left with two pups. Pup 2, little white one, and the grey one, both of whom must be the most photographed seal pups in Wales. They loved swimming in the pool at the side of the car park. The water was so clear they could be seen learning to dive and hold their breath, they both 'played' with small rocks' branches, and seaweed, and would chase one another. 

    They would both go out to sea and return to the pool. Grey pup started to stay away longer but 'little one' remained. 

    'She' was very curious and would come up the shallows onto the pebbles close to the grass embankment to the amazement of the numerous visitors.   

    We eventually stood down from Seal Watch October 8th. The pup was still using the pool into the following week, but we know 'she' knew how to look after herself. 

    Sadly after the success of these pups leaving Cwmtydu, we have been called out on reports of both abandoned and sadly dead pups. We have rescued where we could but sadly some had such bad injuries that they had to be euthanized by our RSPCA officer. 

    One pup I went out to at Cwmtydu on Wednesday the 18th of October. He was clearly underweight but with a Female. He was also spray marked, blue, so had already been checked by the RSPCA.  

    The next day Ani and myself were called to a pup on Dolau beach in New Quay. It was 'Blue boy' now without Mum and in difficulty. Dolau is four miles up from Cwmtydu. He was successfully crated by Ani with help from SeaWatch volunteers, watch the video and taken by the RSPCA officer to a centre. 

    He's one of the lucky ones. Sadly nature can be hard, and we know there are always losses but this year has been a very year for the pups. The adults have coped better and they will have pups again next year.

    Our thanks go to all the volunteers for their time and great efforts this year. Special thanks to Terry Leadbetter for his work, and our RSPCA officers for their great support with the rescues. Thanks also to our many supporters for their appreciation of what we do.

    Looking forward to seeing you all in 2018.

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    This year has seen lots of pups within Cardigan Bay, Castell Bach saw three pups safely raised, and at Cwmtydu the visitors were rewarded with three pups on the beach. One day we had four pups there but one was rescued the following day. Sadly we lost one pup in the high tides it was about 4 days old, but had been fatally injured in rough seas. 

    The first pup was seen up on the beach on the 3rd of September, and the female fed him / her every four or five hours. She was a really attentive Mum, not one we recognised .Our dominant Bull was very persistent but was fought off until the female had ensured the pup was well fat. The pup was nicknamed 'Fatty 1' it was extremely laid back, and didn't like to be wet.....not good for a seal pup.

    It finally turned grey and discovered the sea around the 26th of September! 

    We lost Pup no 2 on the 24th of September. We had watched the female using the pupping cave for a few days, she was the female from last year. Unfortunately we had some rough seas over the weekend with the highest tides and the pup was found on the beach, with the female in attendance.We allowed her to grieve and then removed the little body.

    The 24th of September saw another pup brought up to the beach and Sunday the 25th we had four pups on the beach. One was a white coat pup but without the Mum. It hauled up exhausted and we watched for several hours deciding if it was fit enough to survive on its own or if we needed to send it to a seal hospital. After advice from Terry Leadbetter (Milford Haven seal hospital), we left it overnight and as it was still there the following morning we crated it.

    It was fitter than it looked and led three of us a merry dance along the beach for some time before we finally captured it. I'm happy to say Terry fed it overnight and released it the following day as it was older than it looked.....check out the photo taken by Ursula showing its teeth.

    Fatty 1 and Fatty 2 as they became known stayed around and played together, sometimes playing in the pool, especially Fatty 1, who stayed around until early October.

    The last time I saw them was October the 15th, Fatty 1 was fishing in the shore, and the other pup was 'bottling' just off the shore. 

    A big thank you to all the new volunteers for their wonderful help this year, along with our usual crew, and members of Sea Watch Foundation, we have watched both Cwmtydu and Castell Bach beaches since the beginning of September into mid October, over 400 hours.

    Its been an exceptional year with lovely visitors and lots of healthy pups.

    I know a number of regular visitors will be sad to hear the news that sadly two of our usual team passed away during this season.

         Shane Alldred and Bert Moore RIP 


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    Nature is always unpredictable. The sea was calm and the weather was lovely, when we received a call on September the 19th telling us of a seal pup on the beach surrounded by curious people.

    We dashed down and placed the boards on the beach. The pup was fine but the mother was very nervous. She had placed the pup on the beach across from the river, and she was keeping watch from the sea.

    The visitors that were there informed us of the earlier activities of other people. One man had attempted to pick the pup up, mistakenly thinking it needed to be in the sea. Luckily for him someone stopped him just in time, saving him from a bite from the pup.

    The pups are placed on dry land by the females to prevent them from drowning while they still have the white coat. While they can swim it's easy for the coat to become water-logged, or for the pup to be separated from the female, and become exhausted.

    This female was very nervous, maybe a new Mum, as she wasn't known to us. She did prove to be a very good mum and stayed with the pup until the end of September.

    The pup was one of the most vocal pups I've known, and made it very clear to everyone when he / she was hungry. The weekend of the 26th saw lots of visitors both on the land and in the sea. The female wouldn't come up the beach to feed, she was really unsettled, despite the cries from the pup. Eventually the pup went to her and was duly fed. She then tucked him in the pupping cave and that's where he stayed until he was on his own at beginning of October.

    The Bull was on patrol and keen to offer his protection to his female and her pup. He escorted anyone in the water, either swimming or in a boat. 

    We did briefly have another pup. The female left it high on the beach at the high tide and then spent the day in the sea watching. We can only presume she took it off at the next high tide (after dark) as they had gone the next morning.

    New Quay saw a few pups, one was rescued and after being checked by our local RSPCA officer was brought to us. She had decided the pup, a female, was fit and well but needed to rest. Where she was there were a lot of people and dogs so it wasn't safe for the pup to be left there.

    The pup was brought round to us where we could watch over and allow it to rest. She was a feisty pup, who we called 'Mandy', she was marked for identification, and tucked into the small gully.

    She had gone the next morning and we heard she was back near where she had been found......Nature is amazing.

    We struggled for volunteers this year but with lots of help we covered all the days needed. Many thanks to everyone who helped, especially the volunteers from The Sea Watch Foundation and staff from Cardigan Bay Wildlife Centre.

    It's good to be able to all work together for the safety of the wildlife and of the visitors.  

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    The year has seen lots of seals around the area, and the Bull took up his patrol during August, but we have had another quiet year.

    New volunteers eager to take on their roles but the seals had other plans and we had no pups on the beach. The weather was lovely and the seas calm so the females took advantage of the sea caves away from people. Cwmtydu has become popular, and the fine weather meant lots of people enjoying activities in and on the sea, and while the seals will interact with people, once they start pupping they like some distance.

    We did briefly see a seal pup in the bay, or should I say heard a pup. It had popped itself on a ledge ABOVE the cave on the north side of the beach and was very vocal in crying all day. The female did make several attempts to get up there to feed it. Seals have been seen to climb up rocks so this was not unusual behaviour, just not normal for us.

    Many thanks to the kayaker who paddled out to check the pup for me, (saving me the trip home for my boat) The pup was fine just hungry.

    The following morning it had left.

    Females kept being seen through September and into October, and the Bull continued his patrol until the end of October.

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    This year has seen pups in and around Cwmtydu, although the Females have kept them mainly in the sea caves. This is probably due to the very good weather we enjoyed this year. The good weather meant calm seas well into October.

    The adult seals were very active around the main pupping cave from mid August. The Bull was also present and was keeping patrol along the beach.

    The first evidence of a pup was mid September, when a female was seen entering the main pupping cave. The pup wasn't seen until several days, when it was seen being fed in the mouth of the cave.

    The female wasn't known to us, but she was clearly a good mum. She kept her distance so, but was always alert to anyone with dogs on the beach or people approaching in boats. Then she made herself known. 

    The first good views of the pup were on September 20th. It was happily swimming in the bay.The female was keeping a watchful eye from just off the headland.

    The volunteers also witnessed some interesting interaction between the bull and the pup. They were seen on several occasions swimming up to one another.

    Activity between Bulls and pups is seldom seen and always interesting to watch.

    I did see a very early pup, down the coast at the end of JUNE. I've never seen a pup so early, and as it was very fat it must have been about three weeks old. The female was still with it and there were two bulls fighting over the right to mate.

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    We saw the return of pups on the beach.

    August 25th., and we knew a pup was at Castell Bach, so I walked over to check it out. All was well, the female was very attentive and there was a Bull present.
    Over the next few days we kept a quiet watch, as we also suspected there was a pup at Cwmtydu. 
    We kept a scaled down watch, without the boards. Lots of interest and no issues.
    Bank holiday came and went, with no problems, and the pup at Cwmtydu left early September having turned grey.

    Mid September another female was at Castell Bach, and on my walk back I witnessed a young woman entering a cave at Cwmtydu, only to be greeted by a very large female seal!
    The woman left the cave for the safety of the beach, and the seal went into the sea. Another pup in the cave.

    This female was not one we knew, but she proved an excellent mother. She wouldn't tolerate anybody on the beach. We didn't need the signs at the far end of the beach, because as soon as she sensed anyone she would launch herself along the beach, and would make the point until the visitor retreated.

    Several females and pups used both beaches. For several days during high tide, much to everyone's delight, one pup stayed in the centre of the beach.

    This female stayed longer than usual, even following mating, she continued to feed and interact with her pup.
    The pup also stayed around longer. He / she took to swimming in the pool, became very large and finally left early October.

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    2011 was a very quiet year. There have not been many seals in or around Cwmtydu. The reported sightings from boats were down as well, on both adults and pups.

    We had one pup arrive in the bay in September. It still had a lot of its white coat (pelage). It was on its own and a good size. It was coming in but as there were walkers on the beach it decided against it and went to Castell Bach instead.
    There it hauled up and promptly went to sleep. It was fat and healthy so I just watched for a while at this wonder. It amazes me that something so young, three to five weeks old is now in our rough winter seas, feeding and travelling on its own.

    Later in October myself and some of the volunteers visited the seal hospital in Milford Haven. Bert and Beryl were diverted on route to assist with a rescue of a pup near Cardigan. The pup was settled in and we watched the staff try to feed it. It was underweight, and had several cuts to its flippers. These can be caused by contact with rocks in rough waters. The concern was it had facial injuries and had some damaged teeth.
    If the teeth settle back it will be ok, but if not, it won't be able to feed.

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    This year was not to be a good year for us, and the seals.

    We have seen a higher than normal increase in dead adult seals. The ones we saw have not shown any external signs of injury (boat or other), so the reason is unknown. If we receive any information we will update you.

    We did have a few pups, but none on the beach. 27th November, saw a pup released back in the sea at Cwmtydu, following his rescue from the beach on the 28th of October. He was named Lightening, (Weather being this year's theme at the seal hospital). He had been found following some rough seas, but apart from being underweight, he wasn't injured.

    After being fed back up by Terry, and the team for a few weeks he was set to go. Go he did. Have a look at the photos.

    Terry had also taken another seal from the area, Nelson. Sadly he had lost the sight in one eye, but that won't cause him any problems and he is making good progress.

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    Towards the end of August was the first pup. We were alerted to the presence by the behaviour of the female. She was seen around the cave and was clearly disturbed by people trying to get close to her, not knowing she had a pup.
    This is when a female could abandon a pup, but this was one of the regulars, and an experienced mother.....she stood her ground.

    We started the watch and recognised her as a female who had a pup in 2004, and 2006. Batty we call her. Her pup was about 10 days old, with a lovely silky coat. The pup loved swimming in the river that was dammed off.

    The female took the pup away after a few days, once the sea calmed down. They returned on September the 4th, following a few stormy nights. The pup by now was turning grey, and had grown. The bull accompanied them and within a few days they had mated.

    Another bull came to try his luck but he was seen off after some intense fights.

    The 4th also brought in another pup, but this one had no female. It looked very small and had several injuries. He was named Gale, after the gales, and was taken by our volunteers to Milford Haven Seal hospital. There he was treated and fed.

    Terry said he was 'a seal with attitude', and he was soon released back at Cwmtydu on the 23rd of September.

    The seal hospital and our volunteers have had a quiet year, this year, mainly down to calm seas, and a mild September (we think). The weather was very nice. The hospital only had five pups in during September where they usually can have twelve or more.

    There have been a few rescues later in the year. two pups were rescued at New Quay in November. Sadly one didn't survive despite Terry's best efforts.

    This year we also saw two dead 'young' seals, both about a year old. Because of the wounds on these pups we managed to have a PM done on one. The report could not determine cause of death, but did confirm what and how the wounds were caused, and both the RSPCA, and the police were involved.

    Its sad to think that in 2009, there is still a minority who can't leave nature alone.

    September 2008 has been a first. There have been no pups brought up on the beach.

    WHY?? We don't know is the honest answer.

    There could be many reasons, one thought could be the increase in boat activity at Cwmtydu. Last year saw more boats and we mean small dinghy's, kayaks, and inflatables. This year there was even more.

    There has been pups, and the seas have been rough but they have not coincided with high tide, which is when pups are usually brought up.

    Females did show behaviour of seeking the beach and the caves, and the Bull has also been present.

    The volunteers have still been busy. It started in July, a pup was in the cave but was moved by the female to Castell Bach. So from mid July to mid August, the volunteers hiked over the hill to keep a watch from the cliff path. We did think of using the ponies to carry supplies (camera's, binoculars, food etc.) 

    The mother was very badly injured, we think it was a boat injury. They were very fresh, but quickly healed, and it didn't interfere with her feeding her pup, and later mating.

    She was a very caring mother, and stayed close by all the time. The pictures show the wounds that start at the top of her back and go along down to her tail flipper.

    Early October saw Milford Haven hospital get very busy, following some very bad weather.

    There have been a few occasions when we have been called out to pups. One on Aberaeron beach in December. The pup was almost fully moulted but very small. It was taken to Milford Haven, where she was being looked after.

    This year the group were fortunate to receive some funding from the Wildaid Foundation Trust. They are a charity that helps small groups like ours. The funds have helped with running costs, and enabled us to purchase some new notice boards and new 'A' boards. (The laminated signs are provided by Ceredigion County council). We also acquired some volunteer badges, so you know who we are, and the volunteers can keep a little warmer with Fleece jackets.
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    This year has been very different to other years. The first pup at Cwmtydu arrived on Tuesday the 11th September, but the volunteers had already been busy with two other pups.

    The first had been abandoned on Llanon beach. It was very small, and so taken to the seal hospital. The second pup was a lot bigger, and very lively. It was found near Cai Bach.

    One of our volunteers took a sign down some very dangerous steps, and started to watch, but the pup decided not to stay. It made its way across to New Quay, and later it was seen at Cwmtydu. It was no longer with a female but seemed to be healthy enough.

    The pups at Cwmtydu arrived early one morning, one on the north side alone, and the other with Mum on the south side. More signs were needed!

    The mother and pup we suspect had been in the cave and the rough weather had forced them out. During the day there were no signs of any other females so we went to check the pup. Sadly it had died. It appeared very small, and underweight, and had suffered some knocks in the rough seas. It could have been abandoned but more likely had become separated from its mother in the sea.

    The other pup was doing well, but the female couldn't settle and the first opportunity she took the pup back in the cave. We could still monitor the progress, the usual swimming and fishing lessons were given by Mum, and sometimes the pup came on the beach to rest.
    The pup stayed for a week following the departure of the female, keeping another independent pup company sleeping on the beach every night.

    The volunteers have been very busy, at times stretching our resources. We have been involved with ELEVEN pups this year, two rescued to the seal hospital.
    One was taken from New Quay slipway, a female called 'Shlip', and you can she her photos of her before and on release.
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    2006 saw lots of pups and lots of interaction, between pups, females and bulls. At the end of August there was a pup at Castell Bach, giving the volunteers chance to walk over every day..Phew! The pup was already a couple of weeks old, with the female still suckling and the bull in attendance.

    Cwmtydu has seen three pups. The first was kept hidden in the sea cave. The exciting news was the female was one first seen in 2004. 
    The second pup was first brought up at about a day old. The mother did want to go in the cave but as it was occupied she had to make do with the beach.
    As soon as the cave was vacated she moved it.

    The third pup appeared a few days later, and we were privileged to watch the female and pup play together for hours in the sea. The interactions were lovely to watch as the female played and splashed this pup, diving together and having fun.

    There were also two young seals who visited the bay, popping in and swimming around. We also had a visit from another female that we recognised as Ewan's mum. We don't know if she had a pup but she came and checked the pup on the beach. The mother was just in the sea but didn't appear concerned by this behaviour.

    The third pup stayed in Cwmtydu after the female left. It tucked itself up in one of the gully's.Early October saw a charity horse riding event, and even though the organisers did ask us and kept a distance I think the sound of over 70 horses was just too much and off it went.
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    By August Bank holiday we had seen two pups, one was born, suckled and almost gone before most people knew. The second was born just before the August bank holiday. This caused lots of problems.
    Bank Holiday is always busy, and soon the pup was surrounded by visitors, just wanting that better picture or a closer look.

    People took children, pushchairs, and even DOGS into the cave where the pup was.

    We watched for a long as we could stand it. We took photographs and statements, the council agreed that doing nothing didn't work.

    A sign was provided by Ceredigion County council, and we set up a watch again. The pup successfully finished suckling, and left the area a week later. It has been seen sunning itself hauled out on near by rocks.

    A third pup was born(we thought) around Friday 16th, and came on the beach on Sunday. On Tuesday it was noticed it wasn't feeding, and was not putting on weight. It looked poorly, so we consulted Jean Bryant at New Quay Bird hospital. The decision was made to rescue the pup. It was taken to Milford Haven seal hospital.

    Jean had, along with local help, kept an eye on the seals in previous years.

    The pup, named Ewan, is doing well, and has a cold not Pneumonia as first thought. He was very undernourished. On examination Ewan was found to be abot 16 days old (on Tuesday 20th September). Pups at birth average 14 kg., Ewan weighed in at 16 kg!!

    The mother was very distressed during that Tuesday, and made several searches for her pup, even coming up the river, and towards the road. Whilst it was distressing for her it was also hard for us to watch, but the decision to take the pup was not taken lightly.
    Had we left the pup he would have died, at least now he has been given a fighting chance. 

    The next day she was still looking but the next day she left the area. She would have been as distressed had he died, and while we know pups are lost, (about 40% will not make it through the first year), we could not let a pup die, in front of all the visitors and at a place where we could get to.

    Another pup was taken from New Quay called Liz, she is making good progress.

    During the summer a Common seal pup was found at Cwmtydu. These are not normally found on this coastline. It was very weak and taken to Milford Haven, where he was doing well, until Friday the 23rd September when he suddenly died. A post mortem was carried out and he was found to have Pneumonia.

    15th October 2005; Ewan is progressing well and now diving in the pools for his own fish.

    29th October 2005: Ewan was released back at Cwmtydu, along with two other pups, Maggie & Buster.
    Ewan was straight off, he knew where he was, Maggie & Buster were not too sure, and took some coaxing. Ewan was seen the next day surfing.

    A happy ending.

    Given the problems last year, its good to know that by everyone working together, and putting the past behind us, a way has been found to safeguard the pups and seals for another year.
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    Early September saw calm seas and fine sunny weather. On a Saturday afternoon we observed a lot of activity from one of the female seals near an entrance to a sea cave. This signalled a birth of a pup. As the sea was clam and the tides were receding there was no reason for the mother to bring the pup on the beach, as they were quite safe in the sea caves.
    The following week saw a change to the weather, and the females began to move the pups to safer grounds.

    A pup was brought onto the beach carried by the female on her back, but once fed and rested was then moved further round the coast. The next morning we were witness to one female with a young bull bring her pup onto the beach, and place it up a gully out of the reach of the tides.

    This bull seal was a different male to the dominant male we have watched for many years. This was to prove an interesting time, as this younger male tried to take over the territory and gain the favour of the females.There were several fights, over the following weeks, some on land! Others went on under the sea. Both bulls have gained more scars.

    The following day another female brought her pup on the beach and chose the same area as the first female. This was to cause several confrontations. Every time one female became too close to the other's pup.

    The first pup was the pup born in the sea cave, and a week old. The second pup we could only guess to have been about 4 or 5 days younger. This younger pup was very much at home in the sea and even during rough seas was swimming around with the female. 

    The female had first put the pup on her back, but the sea washed it off. The only way left was for the pup to be placed between the mothers flippers and her to guide it onto the beach.Even after all this the pup was attempting to get back in the sea. The mother had to hold it down.This she had to do on several occasions to this pup.

    You can see pictures of this on the gallery. Watching by the wall left us feeling exhausted.

    Pup no 1 was very different. It was very happy to stay near the river. After the female left it once suckling finished, it took up home in a fresh water pool for over a week, feeding on small fish coming down the river. Why go to sea? when food comes to you!
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