Sunday 29 January 2017

Grey Seal at Hammersmith Bridge

The river was particularly busy with rowing and kayaking crews out in force today. The crowded water, combined with a large volume of Fulham fans walking up to Craven Cottage for their FA Cup tie against Hull, meant the number of birds was well down on what it can be - Teal, for example, were more or less non-existent between Hammersmith Bridge and the football ground.

Most of the gulls were floating around aimlessly overhead - even my bread wasn't enticing them to linger long. Curiously, I noticed the birds suddenly go absolutely mental just upstream from Hammersmith Bridge but nothing big was flying over. The birds were circling low over the water and it was instantly apparent why - a seal's head had popped up mid-channel!

It was a big beast, a male, and looked like a Grey Seal - confirmed by experts on Twitter. It seemed a bit perplexed by the large numbers of rowers going past almost constantly and ended up lingering just downstream of the bridge - it was still there, and showing well, when I came back past the bridge an hour later. It was surfacing about once every five minutes and I managed some decent photos after jumping down from the river wall and sitting by the edge of the water.

Looking at sightings of marine mammals in London on the ZSL website, it seems this isn't quite as unexpected as I'd anticipated. Indeed one individual (possibly the same) was seen as far up the river as Richmond on Saturday.

Otherwise, a couple of NTGG rings were as good as it got - P2MT (4cy) and R5ZT (2cy).

No comments:

Post a Comment