IS Twinkle the seal back – and who is his friend?
That is the big question in Shoreham this week, as seal spotters continue to send in details of sightings on the River Adur.
Stephen Savage, Sussex regional co-ordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation, said that following the report of the juvenile seal in the River Adur, featured in the Herald on February 21, there now appeared to be a second seal.
This seal is larger and may be the rescued and released seal Twinkle, which visited the River Adur in 2011 and 2012.
The second seal was first reported on Sunday, February 24, when it was seen on the river bank by passing canoeists from Adur Canoe Club.
Stephen said: “This seal is reported to be about 5ft long and is much bigger than the juvenile originally reported last month.”
A large seal was also reported last Sunday by a dog walker. The seal was swimming back and forth across the river, occasionally resting on the river bank.
A distant photograph confirmed that this was also a common seal.
Stephen added: “We are very keen to determine if this is indeed Twinkle returning again this year.
“Twinkle can be identified by unique markings on the right hand side of his face and by an orange tag on his hind flipper.”
Twinkle was originally rescued by the RSPCA and released into The Wash before making its way to Sussex.
At present, the larger seal seems to have taken up residence in an area between the Old Toll Bridge and the cement works.
Stephen, who has been monitoring sea mammals off Sussex since 1993, would like anyone who spots a seal to forward the details to him, and also any photographs, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen said: “I always get such a great response from Shoreham Herald readers, who have contributed valuable sightings and photographs to our research.”
Sightings over the years have included a tagged common seal from France that swam across the Channel.