Autumn has been a season of seal watching so far and last weekend was no different. It was also another new location for us, taking a boat from the port of Harwich in Essex with Sealwatching.co.uk.
The boat left from the quay at Harwich Dock and motored out through the port, past the huge shipping container port and along the much more pleasant beach at Dovercourt for about 45 minutes until reaching Hamford Water Nature Reserve. It was there that we found the seals. First just one or two in the water, then a couple more basking on the banks, until we spotted another group of about 50 hauled up ahead. As we approached, they spooked and started launching themselves into the water, making quite a splash as they went.
It was interesting to see a few of them skipping along, jumping in and out of the water like dolphins playing. The boat hung around for a while as we watched the seals (and i’m sure a hen harrier way off in the distance), before we headed back, this time with the tide, to be back at the dock within 30 minutes.
It was a very pleasant way to spend two hours and the crew took good care of us, providing binoculars if needed and a running commentary of the sites along the way and a history of the local landmarks.
Before heading home, we stopped off at Essex Wildlife Trust’s Hanningford Resevoir for a quick trundle along their Wind In the Willows inspired nature walk, coffee, cake and dropping in and our of a couple of their hides for a quick peak.