A rare black seal has been spotted relaxing on a beach near Skegness today.
The creature was captured on camera by keen photographer Phil Bradley when he took an early morning stroll along Winthorpe beach.
Believing it was just a black bin bag littering the beach, he was shocked to get closer and see it was a seal.
“I was walking along the promenade and noticed a black mass,” Phil explained.
“At first I thought it was a bin bag that had been washed up as the tide was coming in. Then I saw it move a couple of times, again thinking it was a bag. I stopped for a while then realised it was a seal.
“I went on to the beach to see if it was hurt but it seemed it had just come out of the water for a rest.
“I managed to get about five metres away the seal and it didn’t seemed fazed by my presence and was happy enough for me to take a few photos on my phone. It then casually wandered off back in to the sea.”
The animal is believed to be a grey seal - which are common along our coast.
However, its jet black colouring is a very rare variation of the species which typically has light to darker grey speckled fur and skin.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has said only one in every 400 grey seal pups are born totally black, but that the intensity of the seal’s colour may fade when it has its annual moult.
The black seal is already causing a stir on Facebook, with Phil’s photos getting comments such as ‘Wow, that’s amazing, black beauty’ - and ‘never seen a black one before!’
Have you spotted any unusual creatures along the coast?