Seal Secrets: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Sue Sayer

Seal Secrets coverCornwall’s most iconic mar­ine mam­mal, the grey seal is also its most reli­able and fre­quently spot­ted, des­pite being one of the rarest seal spe­cies in the world. Cornish grey seals are part of a genet­ic­ally dis­tinct sub-​​population that is glob­ally sig­ni­fic­ant. It is our inter­na­tional, moral and legal oblig­a­tion to pro­tect grey seals, yet there is much still to be dis­covered about this cha­ris­matic spe­cies. Seal Secrets: Corn­wall and the Isles of Scilly provides a glimpse of the hid­den and secret world of grey seals around the coasts of Corn­wall and the Isles of Scilly, from ‘cradle to grave’. It includes real stor­ies about indi­vidual wild seals.

You can use Google Book Search to look inside this book here.

Sue Sayer has lived in Corn­wall since 1991. She has spent thou­sands of hours remotely observing grey seals in the wild, which has given her an unpar­alleled insight into the beha­viour of these curi­ous and play­ful mar­ine creatures. Able to recog­nize indi­vidual seals by sight, their appear­ance on a Cornish beach after a long absence is like the return of an old friend. In 2004, Sue set up Corn­wall Seal Group, which has a healthy, act­ive mem­ber­ship that meets once a month. In 2008, Sue gave up her day job to study seals full time, and is now self-​​employed, try­ing to earn a mod­est liv­ing by shar­ing her know­ledge of seals with others.

Seal Secrets: Corn­wall and the Isles of Scilly is pub­lished in our Pocket Corn­wall series.

  • Intro­duc­tion
  • About this Book
  • Spot­ting the Spe­cial Seals of the South West of Bri­tain Where to see grey seals in Cornwall
  • Seal Spe­cies in Cornwall
  • Adapt­a­tions to Life on Land and in the Sea
  • Seal Senses
  • Know­ing What You’re Look­ing At A grey seal’s coat of many colours
  • The Secret Lives of Grey Seals The breed­ing sea­son The moult­ing sea­son The off­shore for­aging season
  • Think­ing Like a Seal… at Work, Rest and Play Favour­ite seal places Var­ied behaviours
  • Seal Stor­ies
  • Threats to Grey Seals in Corn­wall… and what we can do to help them
  • Seals and People A seal res­cue Photo-​​identification research findings
  • Organ­iz­a­tions and Groups
  • Use­ful Web­sites and Books

ISBN 9780906720844

1st edi­tion
80 pages
130 col­our pho­to­graphs, 7 charts, 2 maps
150 x 153 mm

a lovely, inform­at­ive and well laid-​​out book. Great qual­ity pics and excel­lent print­ing’ (John F. Robins, Founder of Save Our Seals Fund, 14.03.12)

With an enga­ging style, Sue takes the reader into the secret world of grey seals around the coasts of Corn­wall and the Isles of Scilly. … Read Sue Sayer’s book, which is pro­fusely illus­trated with stun­ning pho­to­graphs, and you are likely to fall under the spell of these fas­cin­at­ing mar­ine mam­mals in the way she did’ (Tony Lang­ford, West­ern Morn­ing News, 15.03.12. You can read the full review here.)

a mine of use­ful inform­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly about seal move­ments: the kind of thing you can’t get any­where else. … read­able and know­ledge­able at the same time.’ (Chris But­ter­worth, author, 16.03.12)

a short but excel­lent intro­duc­tion to Grey Seals and their world. … highly inform­at­ive – Sue has the abil­ity to get her know­ledge across without use of sci­entific jar­gon. … gets a full 5 stars. Massively well-​​informed without use of big words, well-​​illustrated and read­able’ (J. Ziolo, Brit­ish Divers Mar­ine Life Res­cue, 17.03.12)

For just a few pounds, this is an abso­lute treas­ure of a book …  filled with beau­ti­ful pho­tos, amaz­ing facts and makes you real­ise just how little we know about these shy and beau­ti­ful creatures … Exquis­itely writ­ten … it is a rare treat to read a book which brings a non-​​fictional sub­ject to life in quite such tech­ni­col­our.’ (Sue Mor­ton, Brit­ish Divers Mar­ine Life Res­cue Medic, 06.04.12)

bril­liant, a real treas­ure trove of inform­a­tion’ (Paul Naylor, mar­ine bio­lo­gist and author of Great Brit­ish Mar­ine Anim­als, 19.04.12) ‘The life of a glob­ally sig­ni­fic­ant spe­cies’ (Tav­is­tock Times Gaz­ette, 14.06.12)

[Sue Sayer] stud­ies these creatures full-​​time – and there is little that she does not know about them. … With chapters on everything from Seal Senses and The Secret Lives Of Grey Seals to Think­ing Like A Grey Seal and Seals And People … Sue Sayer provides her reader with a totally enga­ging and engross­ing look at the world of the seal, while mak­ing an impas­sioned plea for their pre­ser­va­tion. Fully illus­trated in col­our, … Seal Secrets: Corn­wall And The Isles Of Scilly by Sue Sayer, is excel­lent value.’ (The Cornish­man, 16.08.12. You can read the full review here.)

The author’s pas­sion for grey seals is evid­ent through­out … an informed intro­duc­tion to the sub­ject  … read­ers will learn some­thing new  … com­pact enough to carry around  … a valu­able resource for seal enthu­si­asts walk­ing the SW coast path.’ (Mar­garet Bon­ner, South West Coast Path Asso­ci­ation News­let­ter, Autumn 2012, no. 86)

Seals in this part of the world have no greater cham­pion. This book, with its eas­ily read­able text and abund­ant pho­to­graphs shows us a rare insight into the life of seals and the love and ded­ic­ated study of seal beha­viour by Sue Sayer and her determ­in­a­tion to safe­guard the lives of seals every­where!’ (Old Corn­wall, vol. XIV, no. 8, Spring 2013)

I bought this as a present. But once I star­ted dip­ping into it more thor­oughly, I real­ised it was by no means just a cosy little book of “seal stor­ies” only rel­ev­ant to Corn­wall … “Seal Secrets” is a ser­i­ously inform­at­ive piece of work… so I just had to keep it for myself! I have since greatly enjoyed read­ing it; and have learnt a con­sid­er­able amount about the lives and beha­viour of Britain’s scarce and fas­cin­at­ing grey seals. It is a treas­ure! Your book has helped me to appre­ci­ate and under­stand them bet­ter than ever, and I will keep refer­ring back to it.’ (Robert Dur­rant, North Devon Coast­wise and Lundy Field Soci­ety, 05.13)


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