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grey seal ©Tom Marshall_Sussex Wildlife Trust

Have a whale of a time

Sussex Wildlife Trust celebrates some of the larger marine animals that can be seen off Sussex during a one-day course, Sussex Sea Life – from Mammals to Sharks, on Saturday 16 November at the Southwick Community Centre, writes Chris Cormack.

According to course tutor, Stephen Savage, this year has been a fascinating year for marine life. Stephen, who also runs the Sussex branch of the Sea Watch Foundation says, “While we seem to have seen fewer dolphins recently, seal activity is on the increase.”

Most notable have been two grey seals that have entertained the public up and down the coast. The first grey seal, named Trevor, spent time on Sussex beaches as it proceeded to moult and later interacted with bathers. A second grey seal has also taken up residence off Sussex for the last few months. Stephen says, “This grey seal has been approaching boats and swimmers and has surprised canoeists on a few occasions as far up-river as Pulborough. While this is a great experience, people must remember that seals can produce a bite as bad as a bear and so people should not attempt to touch the seal.”

Stephen also reported that there had been several common seals around this year in locations such as Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing, including a juvenile seal that spent a few days in Shoreham Harbour.

Sussex Wildlife Trust’s course not only looks at fascinating seal and dolphin sightings, but also considers sharks, rays, jellyfish and other unusual visitors to Sussex waters. This year was notable as we had an inshore sighting of a basking shark and also a small swarm of the beautiful bluefire jellyfish. Stephen says, “In my childhood it was quite common to see basking sharks off Sussex in the summer months, but now they are only rarely spotted.”

Sussex Sea Life – from Mammals to Sharks: an adult learning course taking place on Saturday 16 November from 10am to 4pm at the Southwick Community Centre, 24 Southwick Street, Southwick BN42 4TE. Booking is essential. For further information please contact the Sussex Wildlife Trust on 01273 497561 or www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.

Posted 13:41 Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013 In: The HOT Planet

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