Grey seal twins on desert island?

Grey seal twins on Richel island? Photo: © Geert Aarts, IMARES

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands; about grey seals:

Two pups and one mother – 26-12-2015

On the uninhabited Wadden sea island Richel researchers from IMARES in early December saw a seal mother with two pups. This is unusual, because seals basically actually always get just one baby. Twins are very rare in the seal family. The researchers therefore believe that they are possibly not real twins, but one of the two pups’ biological mother was lost or the pup had already been weaned. The pup then perhaps went looking for another female to drink milk. Twins or not, it is a beautiful sight!


Seal mothers are pretty tough to other females and their pups. Also to young ‘strange’ seals they can thereby respond quite aggressively. A new pup is not accepted simply. The researchers found that the female several times did biting movements to one of the two pups, but after a while she stopped that. Eventually the two young seals were both able to drink with her.

Birds of Richel sandbank

This 28 September 2015 video shows various bird species on the Richel sandbank, near Vlieland island in the Netherlands. Among the bird species visiting Richel are dunlin, oystercatcher, sanderling and others.

Two wardens studied birds on Richel recently for ten days.

They recognized two red knots and six bar-tailed godwits which had been ringed earlier.

Among other individual birds they recognized were sanderlings and ringed plovers. And a great black-backed gull, ringed in 2008 in Norway. Probably it nests in Norway and goes each year to the Richel for wintering.

Griend island important for sanderlings: here.

Dutch Richel island birds and seals

This video is called Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus).

Richel is a sand bank/desert island in the Netherlands, close to Vlieland island.

Richel is a breeding ground for ringed plovers, Kentish plovers, little terns, and other birds. It is also an important resting place for gray seals. At high water, the sand bank is a flood refuge, where many species of wading birds rest and, while cleaning their feathers, wait until they can forage at low tide.

Wildlife rangers on Richel have a blog (in Dutch). It is here.