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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Grey Seals

Over the weekend I popped into Barking Outfall in the hope of a goodie after the recent high winds, it does produce more wildfowl in the colder snaps but I was optimistic as usual, the tide was also up.

It was whilst I was leaning over the side searching the wildfowl that I saw a Seals head pop up pretty close in, furthermore it was a Grey Seal, the last one if I remember correctly was a Common Seal that hauled itself out on the mud a good few years back. Quite surprised to see one this far up, especially a Grey, they have been getting up to 6 at Rainham but these have all been mostly Commons.

Still taking in air as it drops below the surface

As I watched it was quite obvious it was after the Thick Lipped Mullet, there were fish jumping out here and there escaping followed by a large bow wave made by the seal as it chased the Mullet. As I have said in past posts the Outfall attracts large shoals of Mullet and is a regular food source for both birds and fish. It was whilst it was doing this that it popped its head up one time for air, had a look round and dived again and then reappeared 40 meters away in a matter of seconds. This wrinkled my forehead immensely as there was no way it could have seemingly got there that quick or could it? Shortly after all became clear, there were actually two of the beasties.

The smaller Cow with a Mullet

As I continued to watch, I eventually saw both together at the same time, one was a big Bull and the other a smaller Cow, whether or not they were working as a team on the Mullet is hard to say, occasionally as I continued watching they joined up and there was some interaction. I carried on watching them for a good couple of hours, got some photos but against the light there not great.


Down the hatch

Both together


Bull behind - considerably bigger

As you can see from the photos also they were successful on the Mullet, in a 1 hour period they caught 3 fish, one quite sizable.

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