Blissful seal enjoys the sun on river bank
- Credit: Tom Hilder
He is a seal called Neil - and his antics have brought joy to a Norfolk community.
Neil, also known as Cracker to residents in Ten Mile Bank, has given people a lockdown boost after pictures of him enjoying life on the bank of the River Great Ouse, near Downham Market, were shared on social media.
Neil, who was named by local villagers, is said to be a frequent visitor to the same spot and was pictured back in 2016 by Peter Carter.
Rebecca Carter first shared Neil's sighting on Facebook on Sunday, February 28.
She said: "Me and my family briefly saw him down by Denver sluice for the first time back in 2016 and ever since then we've known him to be a regular visitor and he seems to be well known amongst the locals.
"My step dad has seen him down by Denver sluice multiple times, and Neil even followed him around when he'd taken the dinghy out.
"From what I know he's been seen down by Downham Bridge too. Some locals seem to know him as Cracker but many know him as Neil."
- 1 Boxing club 'absolutely gutted' as mass brawl abandons show
- 2 Karen’s three-course lunch with Mayor of Wisbech
- 3 Veteran turns life around thanks to support from forces charity
- 4 Motorbike set on fire in arson attack
- 5 One arrest and cars seized on busy day for cops
- 6 Leslie 'faster, fitter, happier' after losing 10 stone in four months
- 7 Robber attempts to steal scratch card and alcohol from convenience store
- 8 'Wide range of people' will benefit from village homes, say developers
- 9 Cambridgeshire's Enhanced Area Status extended amid Covid surge in schools
- 10 Items from Lidl and Sainsbury's recalled over health and safety concerns
Hobbyist wildlife photographer Tom Hilder, who stumbled across him while out on his walk, also shared his captures of Neil lying on the river bank next to Modney Bridge Road.
Mr Hilder said: "I always carry my camera because, as Sunday proved, you never know what you're going to see.
"I set off along the river and I came across Neil at about 10:30am. It was very foggy so I was initially puzzled by the grey lump about 200 yards away from me. Not knowing about him or ever seeing him before, I was in for quite a shock."
The 21-year-old said Neil was laying "blissfully" on the bank as the sun came out which caused him to steam in the mid-morning heat.
He added: "Some walkers came past, he gave a lazy lift of the head, yawned and laid back down.
"An experience I won't forget, that's for sure."
For more pictures of Neil visit Mr Hilder's Instagram page on instagram.com/thilderwildlife21