Mostly they are fit and healthy but cause alarm to passers by who are not used to seeing this appealing mammal up close, especially if it hauled out on the beach. Its quite possible that these visits to rivers come about when the seals are following fish. I have had reports of seals in both the River Ouse and Arun. However, on the river Adur seals do not appear to venture far up river.
On a sadder note, I received a call on Monday morning (21st January) about a dead dolphin washed up with the timber next to the Brighton Marina. The dolphin was quite badly damaged but appeared to be a bottlenose dolphin, the species that usually visits Sussex coastal waters in the summer months. It is quite likely that the two incidents were not linked. Currently the dolphin is being analysed by the Natural History Museum in London (who by law must be contacted regarding all stranded whales, dolphin or porpoise). It is hoped that their report will shed more light onto how the dolphin may have died.