A DOLPHIN was spotted basking in the Thames Estuary Canvey.

Enfield photographer Neville Smith was out birdwatching with his friends at Canvey Point to the east of the island on Sunday when something caught his eye swimming east along the Thames Estuary.

First thinking it to be a porpoise, the photographer quickly realised it was a similar, but not the same, bottle-nosed dolphin.

The dolphin could be seen swimming and jumping happily along the water eastwards, before the group lost sight of it.

It then reappeared swimming back in the other direction.

Mr Smith, who has spent years photographing birds and other wildlife, said this was the first time he had seen a dolphin swimming inland.

He said: “I’ve only ever seen dolphins in Cornwall away from the coast. This bottle-nosed dolphin was swimming down the river, he could have ended up even further inland.

“I’ve never quite seen anything like it, this will have been a very, very rare sighting.

“I spotted it first at around 11.05, then it disappeared and reappeared at 11.30.

“It was absolutely lovely to see, I’ve never known them to come inland before.”