March 11 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Have you spotted the ‘rare’ up-river visitor?
A SEAL has been spotted in the River Torridge just a few yards from Bideford Longbridge.
The unusual sighting earlier this month was reported by Gazette reader Derek Barnes, who lives on the banks of the river at Ethelwynne Brown Close at East-the-Water.
Mr Barnes, 73, claims to have seen the seal around 20 yards from his home at around 7pm on Saturday, October 5
He said: “I once saw a seal in the estuary years and years ago but to see one 20 yards from my house was incredible.
“It’s very unusual to see them up this far. It got scared off by a speedboat but it was lovely to see.”
Seal have been spotted as far up the Torridge as the iron bridge at Landcross, although sightings that far up the estuary are considered quite rare.
Mr Barnes said he thought the seal had been chasing salmon up the river.
“The Torridge is teaming with salmon at the moment,” he said.
“As we haven’t had much rain, the water is not high enough for the salmon to climb the weir and reach the upper tributaries of the Torridge.”
In January this year, the Gazette reported how a curious seal had made itself at home in a boat at Fremington Quay in the Taw Easuary.
The animal became a regular feature of the quay during the early part of the year but staff at the nearby Fremington Quay Café say it hasn’t been seen for around four months.
Have you spotted a seal in either estuary lately? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01271 345056.
UPDATE: Dick Glover, from Northam, contacted the Gazette this morning (Tuesday) to say the seal was still in the river.
He spotted the animal behind one of the piers of Bideford new bridge at low water and managed to photograph the animal from Cleave using a telescope (pictured).
He said: “It has been swimming around for half and hour, presumably after the grey mullet that are very plentiful this year.”