I took a stroll along the coastal path from Winterstoke to Ramsgate Harbour, this morning, just to get out with the camera and binos. The search for a "Scandinavian" Rock Pipit being partly responsible for the outing, it was just nice to be outdoors in some calm and brighter conditions. Safe to say, my quest for the continental Rock Pipit remains unfulfilled and, as such, is set to continue for the next few weeks. A rather showy Pied Wagtail posed for a few shots, as I stood overlooking the Fulmar nest site above the car parking area.
I continued along the cliff-top, scanning the loafing Herring Gulls for C-R's, again without success, before taking the footpath down to the harbour, passing Peter's Fish Factory and Weatherspoon's as I did so. The harbour was very quiet, despite it being high tide. Just three Great Crested Grebes being out of the ordinary. Turnstone numbers seemed to be very good, with over thirty birds counted as I walked the western arm out to the Harbour Lights Cafe. Try as I might, there was nothing of note amongst the regular gulls and no sign of a Shag in the inner marina area, I decided to cut my losses and head back along the lower footpath to look for pipits. I hadn't got far past the small beachside kiosk, when I noticed a group of folk looking out over the beach. Many had their phones, in camera mode, pointed towards the sea. A quick lift of the binos quickly established what their attention was focussed on. An adult Grey Seal was hauled out on the beach, dozing right on the tideline, despite the dog walkers and other folk using this very popular area. I rattled off a few shots, just because I needed something to blog about.
There was a lady, who seemed to be taking charge of the situation, politely asking some dog walkers to give the animal some space. "I don't like to be bossy" she said "but the seal needs protecting!" She told me that the marine animal rescue crowd had been alerted to the situation and were on their way. I left her to it, she might not have liked being bossy, but she was obviously a natural? I continued right along the path to where it ends below King George VI Park. Very little to report, but I did spend a bit of time pointing the camera towards the Fulmars coming and going from the ledges in the chalk cliffs above me.
As I returned to Winterstoke Steps, to get up to my van, I scanned back towards the harbour and could see, immediately, that the seal was no longer hauled out on the beach. I can only assume that the animal went back into the sea, of it's own accord, and that the marine animal brigade hadn't "rescued" it in the short time which had elapsed since I had been with it.