Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Update of the last few days

I had not intended to start this blog for another month or two, but due to events it seemed a good time to start. This first blog will bring things up to date.

6th January 2008
Common Seal

A common seal was spotted in the River Ouse near Lewes in East Sussex on 6th January. It’s not unusual for seals to be spotted off Sussex in the winter months but only occasionally do they venture upriver. As Sussex county recorder for sea mammals I do receive a few seal sightings each year usually common seals occasionally the larger grey seal.

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.

20th January
Timber on the beach
Thousands of tons of untreated saw timber from Scandinavia was sitting on the deck of the vessel Ice Prince when she hit rough weather off Portland Bill in Dorset last week. Her cargo shifted and she listed to 40 degrees off the coast, before drifting east and sinking on Tuesday. Twenty crew had to be rescued by helicopter and lifeboat. Tons of wood has washed up along the Sussex coastline. This picture is just a tiny part of the timber washed ashore over many miles of coastline.

21st January
Dead Dolphin

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.

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