Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 11 December 2022 16:47

Most naturalists in the UK will be aware that over the last few years, there have been a few Walrus turning up. The one in Wales and Isles of Scilly and the ill-fated Shetland animal (ask the Norwegians) last year. So, it was quite a shock to hear of one actually swimming around Pagham Harbour yesterday afternoon. It was last seen yesterday swimming west, away from me in Brighton, towards Selsey Bill. I got up this morning ready to leave early if there was any sign but I wasn't expecting much. Then I got a message from Danny Widerscope saying it was at Calshot in Hampshire. I called Tony Davis to let him know and of course, the spawny git Seth was with him. I gave Karen the pre-discussed 15 minute's notice to walrustle into action, and then we were on the road. I wasn't convinced we would see it but by about 11:15 we got to Calshot Castle and we were looking at a male Walrus (Odobenus rsomarus). I may have had a little cry of excitement.

A small crowd of maybe 50 people were present, about two thirds were members of the public. It was well policed, by police, coast guards and marine mammal medics. We watched it for about an hour. Here are a few blurry shots. It was a joy to spend an hour with it. The fishermen were there first, by the way. It really wasn't fussed by people, who were kept at a realistic distance. You couldn't get much of it in the scope at once.

And here is our 'Walnut Selfie'. For some reason I have been saying Walnut all day instead of Walrus. I mean, they're pretty much the same thing, right?

Seth said it had moved up the beach a few times as the tide came in. It did just that soon after, letting out a mighty roar as it did so. You can't really hear it doing that in this video but it was well primal.

And then, after about an hour, for no obvious reason it just got up and buggered off. Remarkably quickly. They are fast in the water and could easily avoid detection when on the move. I felt so privileged to have seen it and getting on the road quickly was well worth it. What an unexpectedly wonderful moment!

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