A Seal got under the Winterbourne stream sluice gate from the river Ouse Lewes yesterday, and into the Railway Land nature reserve reed beds accidentally. Three cheers to all Staff, volunteers and the local animal rescue team for gently herding it back out of the maze and eventually back into the tidal river. There are three Common seals that regularly inhabit the Lewes stretch of the river Ouse and their main food source is the Thin lipped Mullet that I featured on BBC TV Springwatch in 2016.
There used to be a population of approx. 10,000 of these fish that lived here between spring and autumn but sadly the seals eat approx. 10 a day between them so their numbers have been in serious decline these last 4 years. The Mullet visit the sluice gate to bathe in the clean spring water to heal their salt water fungal infections that they pick up while spawning at sea in the winter and attacking them was how the seal accidentally got under the gate and lost in the reserve. Below is a photo of about a thousand of the fish in front of the gate in 2016. Today there are just 25 to 50 there!