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Have you seen any strange or wonderful creatures of the sea?

Simon King Simon King | 18:26 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

Here in Dorset we've seen some great marine creatures but we want your help in finding more. As the weather warms up, more and more of you will be heading to the seaside, a great place to see wildlife. As well as our more familiar creatures there's also a chance of seeing some more unusual visitors. Just this month a leatherback turtle was spotted off Blackpool and there's always a chance that they can be spotted from a stretch of coastline close to you...

We're also heading towards the time of year when creatures such as basking sharks and jellyfish venture into our waters. Have you seen any strange or wonderful creatures of the sea? If you have then we'd love to hear about them so let us know by commenting below.

You can add your marine pictures to the Springwatch Flickr group and send your videos to our website.


  • Comment number 1.

    Not really many unusual sightings from me, but I do spend at least a fortnight each year up on the Black Isle, near Inverness. My favourite place in the world, Chanonry Point, is one of the best places in the world to watch wild Bottlenose Dolphins from dry land. I always try to get some pictures or the Dolphins, but they are very quick, and most of my photos are of nothing more than the sea. The photo below was the only one that survived a computer virus, but is still a good clear shot. I even met Chris on the Point once when he was filming with Charlie Phillips for Nature's Calendar!


  • Comment number 2.

    Ah! You just jogged my memory! I have seen a pair of Sunfish a couple of miles off the South Coast while on a 3 day cruise from Portsmouth to Bilbao in 2006. Saw a lot of Grey and Minke Whales and hundreds of Common Dolphins as well.

  • Comment number 3.

    Basking Sharks are quite common this time of year off the coast of Skye, but I didn't expect to see one breaching on our annual visit this year, nor to catch it on camera



  • Comment number 4.


    Just got back from a holiday in Skye. On Thursday (10th June) we went for a boat trip out of Elgol around the islands of Rum and Canna. While in Klintoch Bay at Rum we noticed strange fins. Eventually we were surrounded by 5 Basking Sharks. Have good pictures but not sure how to post on here.


  • Comment number 5.

    I also saw a sunfish. Whilst boat fishing (for my tea) off Wales, funny thing though as it was on its side at the surface, which lead me too think it wasn't too well, but a few seagulls were keen to have a bit of a go and it clearly spat water at them, several times.....

    Strange but true!!

  • Comment number 6.

    We found a sunfish washed up a few weeks ago on the beach here in south east Cornwall , near looe. Will try to post picture , it was about a foot long.

  • Comment number 7.

    We row off the coast at Marazion, Cornwall and just last week we saw dolphins. They were very close just off the end of my oar following us as we went out to sea. There were around 4 of them. We see dolphins quite often during this time of the year.
    I've also seen sunfish, 2 in fact they look very odd with their flapping fin. We saw these at Sennen Cove. I've also seen basking sharks here as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Some years ago we spotted a sunfish at Mute Rocks -not far from Kimmeridge. We were sailing out of the bay and actually thought it was a diver waving the distress signal. However, as we approached we could see what appeared to be a large round disc in the water. We were lucky enough to get a photo before the fish dived - but quality is poor. Back in April, we watched a pod of dolphins swim towards Chesil Cove one Saturday evening, and rumour has it that a basking shark has been spotted in Chesil Cove, but I have yet to see it. We are lucky enough to live on Portland and I'm always impressed with the wildlife we can see.

  • Comment number 9.

    Spotted a sea hare whilst rock pooling in westward ho last week, have added a picture

  • Comment number 10.

    We saw 3 basking sharks while sailing between Salcmbe and Plymouth on Tuesday 1st June!

  • Comment number 11.

    How apt that this weeks springwatch is talking about the sea? We have just got back from a week in Cornwall and on our way back from a day trip from the Scilly Isles to Penzance we saw 2 basking sharks (10m from boat) and 3 dolphins. My husband and an RSPB volunteer on the boat saw two large marine animals breach the water about 2 miles in the distance(between penzance and the lizard peninsular). Both describeed the animals as being too large for dolphins and also described the breach as that of a whale. Have there been any other recent whale sightings along the south coast in the last week? We are intrigued to know what species of whale they might have been. Please help!

  • Comment number 12.

    Not got a pic or video, but about one and a half years ago, i was walking down a beach and i seen 5 pink/purple jellyfish that were washed in by the tide. Pretty big, dont know the species

  • Comment number 13.

    Basking sharks off Whiterocks Portrush ( N Ireland). Two adults and a youngster by the look of things. Saw them yesterday morning while son was surfing. 200 meters off shore. First time I have ever seen them at this location...

  • Comment number 14.

    We spotted a basking shark when travelling from the Isle of Mull to the Isle of Staffa last Monday (7 June 2010).



  • Comment number 15.

    Last Thursday my daughter and myself saw 3 basking sharks off Porthoustock where we live, which is around the Lizard in Cornwall. Friends of ours went out last night and saw Basking Sharks a Thresher shark leaping out of the water and some dolphins!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Picture posted , actually was about 2 feet long.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    Saw 4 basking sharks about 4 weeks ago off the coast of North Donegal.

    They were cruising in a bay just off shore and stayed there for most of the afternoon. One was crusing about 50 feet just off shore. It certainly caught the attention of several people who were walking on the beach. Nobody in swimming at the time, that would have been interesting.

    We got quite close and they didn't pay any attention and swam slowly past the boat with the mouth full open.

  • Comment number 19.

    lots of small mermaids purses found at perranporth cornwall in may this year. sunfish seen few times at st ives cornwall.

  • Comment number 20.

    Saw this at Fulking beach in Sussex. Has anyone any ideas?

  • Comment number 21.

    i was on hunstanton beach just outside of kings lynn and i spotted a mermaids purse. it was about the size of my palm and black

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    i have been a viwer of your show for years how ever i ham slowy becoming fed up of you not showing uor counrty wlid life you have very rairly come up to the west midlands if you have you never saty long ,and we have a good range of wildlife to match the viwes of the counrtyside you have show over the past yours come get a grip spend 2211 in the midlands we wildlife on the wing,in the waters,in the undergrowth and woodlands so give us a go

  • Comment number 24.

    I was very interested to see Simon with his foot in a bucket of water containing prawns. When I visited Malaysia last october I had a foot massage in a tank full of fish! My feet emerged feeling wonderfully soft, just like having a body scrub. Apparently the fish nibble off all the dead skin. Not sure what kind of fish they were but I am told the best spas in the U.K. will be offering this soon. It was very relaxing! Chris Riley

  • Comment number 25.

    In April, a sharp-eyed friend and I were on Jacob's Ladder beach at Sidmouth and my friend found a cowrie shell, just a few millimetres long. Although I knew cowries are found in Britain, it was certainly the first I've found, even though I've been beachcombing and rockpooling all my life.

  • Comment number 26.

    We went to Dumfries and Galloway at the end of April of this year. We was walking on the beach and we saw something moving in the rock pool. We went to Invesigate an we saw these little sharks but not sure what kind they are. Could you let me know please?

  • Comment number 27.

    Sorry Simon but those whelk eggs were those of the common whelk, the dogwhelk's are small flask shaped eggs laid individually (but often in clusters) on rock often on the foreshore.

    Out canoeing on the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary last weekend, our son noticed a large adult cuttlefish attached to some wrack seaweed - on closer inspection it looked like it was on its way out - presumably just laid its eggs, like clusters of black grapes on the Saltstone area nearby. Odd habitat, entirely marine but at the heart of this very special estuary.

    Lovely seeing the flycatchers on the programme tonight ... isn't that much what horseshoe bats do from their mature hedge overhangs but obviously at night?! Bats equal birds yet again!!

  • Comment number 28.

    hi Simon I spotted some deer in Inverness Scotland there is about 13 of them and there is two young males, is it unusual for two males to stay in the same herd? I have got a photo of some of them could you tell me what kind they are please?

    p.s I have got photos but they will not paste on this photo is there any other way I can send them to you?

  • Comment number 29.

    A little inland, but just up the road from Simon. I photographed a fairly large terrapin basking in the sun in the River Stour, just upstream from Christchurch. Will post to flickr.

  • Comment number 30.

    On a Wednesday about five weeks ago we had very high seas along the Denbighshire coast. On the Friday we went to the beach which is accross the road from where we live and we found thousands of dead starfish of all sizes had been washed up on the beach. This was a very sad sight and we have wondered why this happened. Perhaps you could let me know. As we walk along the seashore almost every day we find lots of things which we have no idea what they are. We now know what the black pods are and also the sponge like egg pods. On Sunday we saw three seals about 20 yards away from the shore. We have seen seals before but not quite so near.

  • Comment number 31.

    Thanks everyone for responding so quickly. Some great stuff here.

    @Aid and @Simon Cooney we'd love to see your photos on our Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/bbcspringwatch/. Or put them on any photo website and post a link right here.

  • Comment number 32.

    While on holiday at the beginning of May in Northumberland we were looking in rockpools on the beach in Budell bay next to Bamburgh castle and came across a large pool teaming with tadpoles.We were amazed to see tadpoles in salt water. Is this a usual occurence? The photograph is in the Springwatch photo album

  • Comment number 33.

    re the tadpoles in a rockpool
    here is the Flickr link

  • Comment number 34.

    Not yet but when i visit Dorset (Portland Bill) in July i am taking the Shark Trust egg cases ID info with me and hope to search the beaches for various sealife related stuff. fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 35.

    Lots of sunfish sightings from the west coast but I once found a dead one about the size of a dustbin lid in the Wash on the East coast. About 30 years ago admittedly. It looked pretty fresh.

  • Comment number 36.

    We saw a Sunfish on 7th August 2005 while looking down from the Valley of the Rocks just west of Lynton. It was clearly visible loping along on the surface of the sea even though we were about 200M up on the cliff tops. The zoom on the camera couldn't get it but a pair of binoculars made a certain identification.

  • Comment number 37.

    I live in North Manchester and an unusual sighting for me has been a pair of Grebes in my local park. They have been, until recently, on the lake there and appeared to be sitting on a nest. However, they seem to have gone and really my blog is for a few reasons. Firstly, simply to record the sighting and, secondly, I was wondering if there is anyone reading this who also goes in the same park, (known locally as The Clough), to reply and say if they have seen them either with or without any chicks in the last couple of weeks. Also if there is anyone from the Springwatch team who could tell me a bit more about Grebes, (I think they were Great Crested Grebes but I am probably wrong), and whether their apparent disappearng act is usual.

    Thirdly, in the same park we had in the very early Spring, a flock of Tufted Ducks who have also moved on apart from one pair who appear to have decided to stay a little longer. Again can anyone on the Springwatch team tell me if this is also normal behaviour.

    Finally, for me the best thing of all is the development of a Heronry, (I think that is the right word). We had one pair for a couple of years but now we have three and at least one of the pairs has a chick which appears to be doing rather well.

    Sue (Manchester)

  • Comment number 38.

    hi i was fishing in barmouth midwales about 15 years ago about half a mile out and saw 2 sunfish. hope this is helpful. i enjoy watching your programme and wondered if you would be making a bird song cd, if so i would love to have one. wishing you all the best .michael.

  • Comment number 39.

    My mum, sister and I went to Lulworth cove on Sunday and found some amazing animals in rockpools including squidgy sea anemones. There were also loads of winkles, crabs and limpets everywhere! I was suprised to find so much wildlife in the bay considering how busy it seemed to be.

    There were also lots of different seabirds and rabbit runs through the long grass up on the cliff tops.
    My legs are still aching!
    Zoe in Poole aged 24.xxx

  • Comment number 40.

    Chris and Kate said last night that they had never seen an Atlantic Sunfish. We get them fairly regularly on the southwest tip of Ireland here and I have posted a picture for them on the Flickr.

    When the show is over, take a well earned break and all head over to West Cork and I'll take you out on the boat to see some Atlantic Sunfish and any Baskers that might remain into July.

    Nic Slocum

  • Comment number 41.

    sea hare in rock pool at burniston.north of scarborough .n yorkshire.not seen this befor round here 8/6/10 .photo inc

  • Comment number 42.

    while on holiday in combe martin in north devon i saw the strangest things on the beach .. a giant dancing cake followed by a woman with a ribboned hat and broom dancing in front of about 6 men in red jackets and wearing traffic cones covered with ribbons on their heads holding a man in a mask dressed in a sack outfit who was then shot and thrown into the sea while women wearing flowers danced to musicians and drummers !!! HONEST !!can anybody help and tell me what it was all about ???

  • Comment number 43.

    We visited St Michael's Mount in Cornwall on Wednesday 9th June 2010 and from the gardens saw seven basking sharks. We had tea in the garden still watching the sharks. On the return journey we asked the ferryman to take us out amongst the sharks, which he did. It was fantastic, the highlight of our family holiday to be up close and personal with these wonderful creatures.
    Yours happily Honor John, Ben, Danielle and Katie

  • Comment number 44.

    I was down at the far end of Cornwall at the end of may 2010 and spent three seperate days out kyacking with friends. in this time we saw 11 basking sharks (there is the possability that some of these were the same sharks at different times) we got some good photos both in and out of the water (that is photos from under the water and above, the sharks were sadly not leaving the water for photos) i will see if i can get some uploaded on here for you to enjoy.

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh one other thing has anyone contacted the wildlife record centres with their sightings? i know both the devon biodiversity record centre DBRC and Cornwall CERC would be really interested in all marine sightings if they were in their county.

  • Comment number 46.

    i am very lucky to live in galloway and see wildlife a regular basis in so many different varieties. The sightings of sealife ive seen i have found fantastic every September we go to port logan, and carry down to the mull of Galloway and we often capture glimpses of dolphins porpoise and seals, not sure what type of dolphins probably common dolphin but i find them magnificent all the same. towards Wigtown i have seen the osprey catching fish in the bay and one was even flying a few feet in front of our car one day... its wing span is shocking. our local favourite beach is coated in shells of all different sorts and once when we were there watching out for sea otters we saw salmon jumping. our local gray heron is always scruffy and alternates between standing in the river Cree and on the marsh land near creetown and he is here all year round. we also went to see the spoonbills in this area - the first successfull breeding pair is Scotland i think. so there you go, hope this was interesting for you. Kath

  • Comment number 47.

    We took a brilliant boat trip from the Isle of Mull in August 2008, and OK, it was very wet but that didn't matter cos of the amazing things we saw. At one point we had a sunfish floating on the surface from the left side of the boat, and a basking shark swimming on the other side at the same time! Photos of them below. We also had poropises and a distant minke whale within a minute of these sightings, wow!


  • Comment number 48.

    i was crab fishing off a pier when i brought up to crabs stuck together. at firt i thought it was a mutant! then when i put them in the bucket i saw they were attached with two triangular flaps!they then let go of each other and the bigger one started to hit the smaller one with a claw and then re-attach. we wondered wether they were mating but weren't sure?

  • Comment number 49.

    Last night, Simon, you showed us a cluster of eggs found commonly on the strand line. These are the egg cases of the Common Whelk, (Buccinum undatum ) not Dog Whelk (Nucella lapillus ) which lays its flask shaped eggs on the underside of rocks and ledges. Otherwise, fascinating article.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am currently doing research for my masters on Puffin Island in Anglesey monitoring seabirds, as I was watching I noticed a large orange jellyfish around the island which I identified as a lions mane jellyfish! It was enormous!

  • Comment number 51.

    I have seen a sun fish off of Start Point whilst sailing from Salcombe heading to Dartmouth, in August 2008 and 2009. I have photographs of one sighted in August 2009 and would love to share them. Anyone interested.

  • Comment number 52.

    Only thing I have seen recently on the coast of Gt. Yarmouth was a skeleton of a porpoise washed onshore about a month ago. I would like to ask why, over a few days in November I think, that there were loads of cuttle fish bones washed up onshore, then they were gone & not seen any since. I thought i'd ask as Simon mentioned about them on program. I walk along this stretch of beach every day & it was the ony time I saw them

  • Comment number 53.

    At 3pm on 4th June I spotted a large Basking Shark off the North Wales coast at Ffrith Beach. It was clearly visible for about an hour quite close to the shore.There were masses of jelly fish in the water on this day so this may have been the reason we were treated to such close up views. Needless to say my grandchildren thought the experience fantastic.
    Sandy T

  • Comment number 54.

    This egg was found half buried in the sand 200 yards out on Heacham Beach, Norfolk as we followed the tide out. Any suggestions what it is and how it may have found itself on the sea bed of the Wash?

  • Comment number 55.

    Second attempt - first link failed
    This egg was found half buried in the sand 200 yards out on Heacham Beach, Norfolk as we followed the tide out. Any suggestions what it is and how it may have found itself on the sea bed of the Wash?

  • Comment number 56.

    Third time lucky..
    This egg was found half buried in the sand 200 yards out on Heacham Beach, Norfolk as we followed the tide out. Any suggestions what it is and how it may have found itself on the sea bed of the Wash?


  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Everyone at springwatch
    I am contacting you because I have seen something strange along the shore where I live. There are a pair of white geese with a canadian goose playing gooseberry!!
    The three of them have been together for 2 or 3 years. I do not know whether the canadian goose is a male or female.
    Is this very unusual?
    Carol Ghali
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    Isle of wight

  • Comment number 58.

    Not a strange creature, but one behaving strangely! I live on a boat near Rochester. it's an ex pleasure boat, it's been a restuarant and generally had quite a life. Now, Mrs Mallard has laid a clutch of eggs in a planter of lillies on the deck. Saturday morning, I wnet out onto what is quite a small deck area, enclosed by metre high bulwarks, and saw a lilly plant uprooted. I blamed the cat, until I went to investigate, and there in a neat hollow, tidilly covered with leaves and half buried in the compost was a large whitish egg. Later in the sday, having got over my astonishment, I noticed muddy webbed footprints on the deck. Next day there was a second egg, Monday a third. Tuesday I went out just before seven o'clock, and mama duck was sitting on the nest. I didn't disturb her but went back in and closed the door. by around 9.00 am she had gone. This morning, I've not seen her but there are now five eggs in the nest.
    If she managed to hatch the ducklings, there is no way they can get off the deck, not until they can fly!! There is very little in the way of bugs among my collection of plants pots for a duck family to feed on. How will she teach them to swim? If she gets them over the bulwarks, they have a considerable drop to the sometime water, sometime mud. Should I install a paddling pool? And then, there is my cat - she'll be very inclined to snack on baby ducklings.
    I am certain I have only seen one pair of mallards on the marina, and never a duckling. We have a lot of cats, most of them roaming, and rats, so it occurs to me that Mrs mallard has allready lost one amily, it now being a bit late in the year for eggs. Not sure this is a responsibility I really want.

  • Comment number 59.

    I recently saw three sea hares spawning under a rock in a tidal pool at North Berwick. I had no idea what they were until the kind people in the Springwatch flickr group helped me out. Sea hares are possibly not as exciting as basking sharks but I was pretty happy about spotting them anyway!


    We also managed to find brittle stars, starfish, hermit crabs, shore crabs and a flounder. The best place for rock pooling I have ever been.

  • Comment number 60.

    We went to Dumfries and Galloway at the end of April of this year. We was walking on the beach and we saw something moving in the rock pool. We went to Invesigate an we saw these little sharks but not sure what kind they are. Could you let me know please? http://www.flickr.com/photos/51145933@N02/4700529171/

  • Comment number 61.

    Not that I have seen any remarkable animal aroud the British coast, as I am living in the Netherlands, but I just wonder why you use the word 'creature', not 'animal'. Moreover, because yesterday evening you even used the word 'design' to describe a part of an animal in the sea. Does this mean you are a creationist or an 'intelligent designer'?

  • Comment number 62.

    Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset is my very favourite place, generations of our family have enjoyed exploring the rockpools. My fascination is with the fossils found there - so much so that I decided to base my final project (in jewellery design)for my BAHons degree on them. In August 2007 I photographed large ammonite fossils in a huge slab of freshly fallen rock at Kimmeridge. I also photographed "the Swanage Crocodile" displayed in Swanage museum; this was the complete form of a fossilised crocodile head. To me these creatures are as much a part of wildlife now as they were millions of years ago because the have re-emerged to be among us today.

  • Comment number 63.

    Can anyone suggest an answer to a sighting? My wife and I were in South West Scotland last night, and we spent the evening on the cost at a place called Monreith. The conditions were perfect, a millpond flat see and beautiful evening. Quite close the shaw, we saw a set of three fins in the water, and they seemed to be patrolling along the coast quite methodically. We think these were basking sharks. Is this possible has anyone else seen this?

  • Comment number 64.

    While on holiday in Cornwall last week we spotted Basking Sharks on most days, between the headlands of Logan's Rock and the Minack theatre. Usually there was just one, but on our last day there we spotted three, swimming in the clear blue waters near Porthcurno - a fabulous sight.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry about the URL problems. I think these are the correct links for photos of basking sharks seen in Cornwall last week.



  • Comment number 66.

    i live in basingstoke and i drive to work in thatcham and im always seeing red kites,buzzards and kestrels. i love seeing all the big birds i even had a fright when a red kite dived in front of my car the other day when i was going through midgem. i did not hit it but it was very close.

  • Comment number 67.

    I was surfing in Sennen Cove this Saterday gone, and while we were waiting out back an enourmous whale leapt out of the water. We sat talking about it and everyone agreed it was much to big to be a dolphin. Also, rather than dive as a dolphin would, this simply crashed back into the water. It only jumped once and then we never saw it again. I would love to know what it was we saw? Any ideas?


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