Seal spotted basking in River Wear

Seal at Coxgreen

Seal at Coxgreen

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A SEAL appears to smile as it takes time out to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

Keith Cockerill, 67, from Washington, took the photograph of the unusual sun worshipper while out walking in his home town.

The retired engineer, who is also a keen photographer, spotted the mammal relaxing on a pontoon on the River Wear at Coxgreen.

“I regularly walk the riverside footpaths at Washington as a retirement hobby.

“I always have my camera with me,” he said.

“I first got into walking here during my lunchtime breaks when I worked for Northumbrian Water at their office complex in Washington, which is close to the riverside. Seals are not really an uncommon sight around here, as the river is tidal beyond Washington into the Lambton Estate.

“What is unusual, however, is to see them basking in the sunshine.

“They are usually active and on the lookout for fish.

“This one also looked as if it was smiling.

“A Coxgreen resident, Howard Blacklock, has a pontoon and boat here.

“The seal spent last Saturday and Sunday on Howard’s pontoon and seemed to be really enjoying the autumn sun.”