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.