Sussex Common Seal Sighting
- Hi all
I received a report from Bill Carter of a seal sighting at
Peacehaven (East Sussex). He first spotted the seal at 2pm as he was
cycling along the Peacehaven undercliff promenade on 31st October.
It was a warm sunny afternoon with calm sea and the seal was basking
on the groin.
Bill returned the following day (1st November) and the seal was
still there. The seal seemed more cautious and slipped into the sea
which was right up to the groin as it was high tide. The undercliff
walk and quite busy with walkers and so the seal may have been
disturbed by someone trying to get to close to the seal. It popped
up a few yards offshore then dived again and appeared a hundred
yards or so offshore, where it stayed for the quarter of an hour or
so that Bill was there. It did occasionally dive for some lengths of
time so it may have been feeding.
When Bill went back on the 2nd November the seal had gone. In Bill's
own words, "a fascinating first encounter with a sea mammal in the
wild". Its not often you are able to see a seal at such close
quaters in Sussex (except Chichester harbour)
Bill sent me a series of photographs taken with a telescopic lens.
Looking at these photograph the seal appeared to be female. Bill
managed to measure a section of the groin shown in the photograph
and we were able to estimate that the seal was about 1.2 metres.
Female common seals are 1.2 to 1.7 metres and males 1.4 to 1.9 m, so
it is probably a young adult female or adult female.
This may be the same seal I reported previously that had been seen
up the river Adur at Shoreham on the 20th Octover, several miles
west of Peacehaven. I receive a few seal sightings each year,
usually between Octoer and March.
If you would like to see a selection of the seal pictures, you can
check them out on my weblog, This also inlcudes a couple of other
local seal observations and some grey seals I watched up close in
Bill also has a website of spectaular coastal images of Easst
Sussex County Recorder Sea Mammals
Sea Watch Foundation - Sussex regional coordinator