Thursday, 11 July 2013

Seals and basking shark

There appears to be a lot of seal activity of Sussex at the moment.

A common seal has been visiting Shoreham again the last couple of weeks, in particular between the 6th and 9th July when it was seen everyday some times more than once.

Most of these sightings were in the river Adur the seal travelling over a wide area and has been seen near the Norfolk Bridge but also as far up river as the old cement works. Cuckoo corner has also been a favourite site.

 Some anecdotal sightings off Shoreham Beach but on the 7th July it was seen close to the beach (Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve) where it swam within 20 metres of swimmers.
Also a grey seal has been seen off Lancing, Worthing and Littlehampton and on 5th July it approached a swimmer off Worthing, as seals are very inquisitive animals.

Another marine animal not recorded for some time locally made an appearance at Brighton, a 3 metres basking shark on Tuesday 2nd July (but unfortunately I was at the Big Bang South East Schools Stem Science Event, so I missed it.  The basking shark was reported by the coxswain  of the Brighton and Hove Lifeguards Patrol Boat

The shark was heading east. In my childhood it was not that uncommon to see the occasional basking shark off the Sussex coast in the summer and occasionally one would turn up in Shoreham harbour where sadly many of the fishermen would cast their lines at it in an attempt to catch it. Of course they didn't manage to, but some lines did entangle the shark.

As always photographs are invaluable, not just to ascertain species but also to identify individual seals (that have unique markings). Such photographs made it possible to determine that the seal sightings in the Adur earlier in the year were actually three separate seals.

The grey seal was seen off Worthing today it is possible that this is the same seal that was moulting and turned up on beaches and harbours last month. There also appears to be another grey seal in the river Arun. Depicted below, the seal appears to be eating a flatfish.
Photo from John and Mary Lucioni

I am keen to hear from anyone who sees a seal and also if anyone hears anything else about the basking shark.

1 comment:

Seal Spotter said...

Hi. Saw a grey seal today around 2pm off Normans Bay. My kids spotted it while swimming in seemed happy to watch the goings on of families and then dive under water for 5minutes at a time before bobbing back up. It was about 20metres off shoreline and hung around for about 30 minutes.