This is the moment a man travelling down the Portway spotted something rather unusual – two porpoises swimming under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Initially Kane Hunt thought they were dolphins, but on closer inspection the creatures turned out to be porpoises, a smaller aquatic mammal which looks like a dolphin.

The young father was a passenger in a vehicle travelling away from Hotwells and under the bridge when he noticed the animals breaking the surface of the muddy River Avon.

It was at the start of the rush hour on Wednesday, September 30, and motorists in the queues heading into the city were largely unaware heading in the opposite direction were two cetaceans.

Kane was a passenger in a truck and got the driver to stop, as he filmed the animals swimming fairly swiftly towards Shirehampton and Pill.


“You never expect anything like this in our waters – crazy isn’t it?” said Kane, who is an avid fisherman so always keeps an eye on the water.

“It’s wicked seeing things like that here. They were heading back to the open water, but it’ll be nice if they popped up again, wouldn’t it?” he added.

Back in the early 1990s it was estimated there were around 200,000 porpoises – mainly harbour porpoises – living around the coast of the UK, but it is highly unusual for them to swim far up the Avon Gorge and in to the centre of Bristol.

Porpoises are slightly smaller than dolphins and while initially fairly similar in appearance, can be distinguished by their more snub, less pointy snouts, and slightly thicker more stocky shapes, compared with dolphins.


The creatures were also spotted later the same day further down the River Avon nearer Shirehampton and Pill by Jon Kennedy, who also filmed the sighting.

Other people on social media said they too saw the animals as they made their way along the Ashton-Pill river path.

But it’s not the first time large marine animals have made it up the river and into the city – earlier this year, there was light relief at the start of coronavirus lockdown when a seal set up home in the River Avon around Hanham Weir for a few days, before being spotted making its way down river through Bedminster and Hotwells.

And of course, there are the stories of sightings of a crocodile in the tidal stretches of the River Avon New Cut that date back to the early 2010s.

With deer, big cats, an emu and even bigfoot being spotted in and around Bristol, there’s certainly a lot of wildlife on show.



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