Friday, 7 March 2014

Common Seal at Worthing and dead porpoise at Kingston Beach

A common seal was spotted swimming around the pier at Worthing. Close examination of the photo that appeared in the Worthing Herald confirmed it was indeed a common seal and the spot patterns on seals head did not match any of the marking of seals that we had previously seen and recorded.

Sadly a dead harbour porpoise was washed ashore at Kingston Beach also on Friday.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dead Kemp Ridley Turtle

I received a report of a dead Kemp Ridley Turtle washed up dead on Saltdean Beach, East of Brighton.

The rare Kemp Ridley Marine Turtle was washed ashore dead at Saltdean on Monday 17th February. We have had some interesting remains washed up in recent weeks but this is by far the most unusual. 

 (c) Phil Everitt

A loggerhead was washed up at Worthing in December last year. Occasionally sick but alive specimens of the loggerhead turtle and green turtle have been washed up in the South west and west UK on rare occasions.

I had previously heard that a Kemp Ridley had also been washed up dead in Devon back in January 28th 2014)

 (c) Phil Everitt

An adult Kemp Ridley has an almost completely round carapace (shell) measuring about 70cm long, and weigh approximately 40kg.

Kemp Ridley turtles are mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico area. Kemp's Ridley turtles can range between tropical and temperate coastal areas of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and have been reported as very rare visitors to the UK. This species is considered to be critically endangered. 

It is likely that the recent stormy seas caused the turtle to reach our shores and wash up on the beach.

 (c) Phil Everitt

The full story of the stranded turtle can be found at Nature Quest

The only species that naturally occurs around the UK and occasionally seen alive off Sussex is the leatherback turtle as they are adapted to the cooler waters. They visit UK waters to feed on jellyfish

Friday, 3 January 2014

First seal sighting of 2014

I received a sighting of a seal near Lewes on the River Ouse this morning by Ali who has sent sea mammal sightings in to me on several occasions.

From the photograph I can confirm not only is this a common seal but is a seal that has been visiting the River Ouse for many years now. The river is very high at the moment with the constant stormy weather.  Ali said the seal seemed to be healthy though it was shy of the people who were coming along to look at it. 

This could have been because of the usually high water level making the seal more 'nervous' than usual.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Dead Sea Turtle on Worthing Beach

I have just received a message form Graham at the Seafront Office at Worthing in West Sussex with a report of a dead marine turtle at splash point.
When they arrived on the scene they were able to tell that the turtle was dead and measured 1 and a half meters in length. The turtle was located the turtle due south of Coast CafĂ©.

Looking at the number of scales on the shell I was say this is a loggerhead turtle, Graham also suggested this species.

Tropical Sea turtles do turn up around our shore from time to time and because of the colder water (and reptiles being cold blooded) they become sluggish and don't feed and then if not rescued they usually die.
The cause of death is not know at present, the underside looked concave so it may have starved or it could have ingested plastic, but we will have to wait for the post mortem. I will update if more information is available.


Monday, 30 September 2013

Sussel Seal Sightings update September 2013

Lots of fascinating seal activity in Sussex continues through September. Highlights reported below.

2nd September                                                                                                                          The grey seal is still being reported in the Arun, lower reaches of the river today.

A common seal pup was seen in Shoreham harbour for the first time today. The report came from Shoreham Port Authority and concerned a young seal on a fisherman raft in the lady Bee Basin. I received the report 30 minutes before I was due to leave for a marine educator’s conference being held at Plymouth University (more about the conference later). So I passed the information to British Divers marine Life Rescue and was attended by Elaine who I have worked with from time to time on local seals. The seal was within the lock dates – unusual however there are a lot of fish so potential prey to fatten the seal up as it is a little thin.

3rd Sept                                                                                                                              More on the seal pup at Shoreham. A berth holder tried to approach the seal and frightened it into the water.  It then seemed to spend a couple of hours fishing and then disappeared. 
5th Sept
The Shoreham seal may now have gone back through the lock gates and spotted near the harbour mouth. Reports from Shoreham Port suggest there may be three seals present near the West Breakwater.
7th Sept    
                                                                                                                                                  A report from Matt. I came back in on my boat from a day's fishing and was hanging around waiting for the lock gate to open when up popped this seal only about 100 yards from the locks. Didn't get any pictures as the gate opened then and I had to go in.
9th Sept                                                                                                                                 Another update form BDMLR. Finally got a chance to see the Shoreham pup on Saturday and take some photos. He's looking good and apparently, according to people I spoke to, he's catching his own fish and eating them, which is great. He should soon start putting on weight with all the fish and eels in the port. I watched him from 4:30 to 5 PM, and then he went in the water when someone accidentally frightened him. According to Sibella, he'd been there all day.
8th September
Another report of the grey seal in the Arun, from Nige. Today I was kayaking in the river Arun by Arundel and spotted the seal, he continued to swim alongside us for about 45minutes.
Another report on the Shoreham Seal reporting it to be seen regularly at the eastern arm. It’s possible that you've already been made aware it, but we just wanted to relay that

9th September 
More on the Arun Grey Seal. A member of the public was walking along the Arun, this afternoon, near to the Wetland Centre at Arundel. They spotted, what they first thought was a dog in trouble in the water about 100 yards from them. They reported “I called out and whistled to it and was pleased to see it responded by changing its course to head for us. I carried on calling to it, as it appeared very low in the water.
As it neared us and the bank I was completely amazed to see a rather large Grey Seal lift its head and shoulders out of the water, take a good look at us and then, after a few moments, submerge and disappeared as quickly as it had appeared!
The time was approx. 14.20”.

11th September    
                                                                                                                                              Grey Seal report from Ian. Just to let you know we saw the seal again this morning at 08-30 swimming up river, he was close to the bank opposite our offices and was looking around as he swam past. We watched him for a couple of minutes then he went under water and under the bridge towards Ford. It was an amazing spectacle.

14th September  
                                                                                                                                                Arun Seal report. The family and I were at the pier in Littlehampton today (14/09/13) and saw a grey seal at about half past 4 this afternoon. We watched it for about 10 mins and it seemed quite happy jumping around then it disappeared as soon as we got our cameras out!
The seal pup is still being seen in Shoreham Harbour. More on the seal pup Shoreham Harbour by Chris a member of Friends of Shoreham Beach and a local diver.

15th September   
Chris returned to take some more pictures to help with the identification between 0900 and 1000hrs, from the western arm of Shoreham Harbour. The seal was in the space between the main arm and the little pier.


From the photos I have been able to isolate markings that will help to identify the seal again, and hopefully track if it turns up elsewhere.
Seals have distinctive and unique spot patterns and occasionally when these are clear enough they can be used to identify individual seals

21st September   
Common seal was seen in the river Ouse at Lewes, near the tunnel.

23rd Sept  
A seal was observed swimming towards Brighton earlier on the 17th at Salt Dean swimming west towards Brighton. A motor boat followed it until it was no longer visible, possibly the same one seen in the river Ouse on 21st Sept. 

24th Sept                                                                                                                                         A seal was reported at Peacehaven but was not seen when BDMLR turned up to investigate. 
26th September                                                                                                                    The grey seal was seen swimming in the River Arun by a member of the pubic as they walked over the bridge going into Arundel town centre. 
A fascinating collection of seal sightings I am sure you will agree.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Grey Seal still on the River Arun, West Sussex

The grey seal is still living in the River Arun and surrounding waters. Here are some more sightings

7th August
Hi Steve.

It may be of interest to you; so I thought I would let you know that I spotted a grey seal in the River Arun at lunchtime today. It was heading North with the tide just short of the old bridge.  It dived and though I searched for it, I did not see it resurface.

I was standing in a sandwich shop, looking out of the window overlooking the river. South of the Queen St. Road bridge. Kind regards, Darran

8 August

Hi Steve.  Just to let you know that we spotted a seal in the River Arun just after 2pm today. It was north of the Black Rabbit, Arundel about 5 miles along the River from Littlehampton

Kind regards Mick

10th August 2013.

Just to let you know that a large Seal was seen at Pulborough Brooks late afternoon on Saturday 10th August 2013 Regards Stephen.   
10th August 2013.
I hope these photographs might be of interest. He was above Pulborough on Saturday evening having a good time

11 August

I was canoeing about 2 miles downriver today from Pulborough today when I encountered a playful seal. He repeatedly swam up to and surfaced near my boat and even showed me a rather large fish he had caught.

I have some video that I shot and once I've downloaded it I will send you a link.

Regards Jack

22 August

Hi Steve,

I've just returned from a paddle boarding session off Littlehampton Beach (opposite the leisure centre) and I had an encounter with a seal! I ride an inflatable paddle board and I heard a "pishh, pishh" behind me, I thought I'd sprung a leak! I turned around and saw a seal swimming along behind me.
It came alongside and was very inquisitive. I hadn't heard of seal on our coast, so I Googled sightings when I got back home and came across a story in the Littlehampton Gazzette dated 26 June. I saw that you requested information of any sightings at the foot of the article.

I'll be sure to take a camera with me when I go out next! Kind regards Roger

23 August

Hi Steve

My husband and daughter saw the seal in the River Arun this afternoon.  It was in the shallows on the right where the tee pee tents are on the left.  I don’t know exactly where that is though.  If you need more information, then please email me back.  


23 August

Hi Steve,

Saw through Google that you were requesting info on seal sightings.

A very relaxed, friendly seal was basking on the lower east bank of the Arun at High water approx 1mile north of the Arundel to Littlehampton railway bridge yesterday afternoon the 23/8/2013.

He was not at all disturbed nor bothered by our close vicinity in our kayaks to say hello, He looked extremely healthy and well fed and my wife and I stayed some time to admire him, Regards, Sean & Davina

24 August


We’ve been to Littlehampton today and was amazed to see a seal in the river opposite the fairground. Vince

26 August

Hi Steve

I don't know if you still interested but we have just spotted, at 20:00hrs, a seal in the river Arun.  He did not look distressed, he was just resting on the river bank.  I don't know if it is the same one as before, he certainly looked very healthy.
Kind regards tasha & Sue

26 August

Hi, I got your email address just now as I google searched 'seal in Littlehampton' and wanted to find out more by what we saw today! We were in Littlehampton today and were crabbing by the river. A huge seal swam right up to us and caught what looked like an eel in its mouth!

We were in awe! About an hour later walking back along the beach we saw a seal in the water quite close to the beach as the tide was in. It was swimming extremely close to two people im the water. Amazing!! Thought we would let you know :)
Kind regards, The Ward Family.

28 August

Hi, just to let you know I spotted a seal at Arundel town bridge this evening at 18.30. Couldn't get a photo as it I missed my opportunity, the seal headed further up the river passed the bridge. A few other people spotted it along with a family following it in a boat.

31 August

Hi Steve

While kayaking today along the river Arun we spotted what the Arun grey seal. Looked up grey seals in the area when we got home and found the gazette arrival with your email address. It was about 645 am when we saw him or her and we had just past the Littlehampton marina and were about 5 minutes from going under the road bridge heading towards Arundel.

The seal dived when we first spotted it but resurfaced quickly and came up close to the kayaks and swam along a little behind for a while. Hope this helps with you sea watch the seal was beautiful and really curious. Will be using this route a few more time in the next few weeks will email again if lucky enough to see him/her again.

Thanks Ian, Sally and Amie

31 Aug

Seal seen this evening numerous times in harbour and then returning out to open sea. Seemed very relaxed. Photo from West Beach car park whilst we were eating fish and chips. Belinda Wilkins