A lone dolphin was spotted swimming close to the shoreline in what experts say is a rare sighting.

Russell Baker captured some amazing images of the mammal circling the River Dee next to Connah’s Quay docks on Monday evening as it headed to Saltney and then came as close to the city centre as near Chester Racecourse.

He said: “My father was out walking by the river when he saw the dolphin. After watching it circling for a little while, he called me and I came out with my camera.

“After 30 minutes I placed a call to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) hotline to advise them of an animal possibly in distress.

“They advised that it was most likely chasing fish and would depart later on the tide.

“And due to the river width it would be pretty much impossible to coach it out back towards the sea.

“The coastguard team then arrived to keep watch as the dolphin continued to circle in the river, however it was slowly edging back towards the sea.”

Coastguards initially feared the dolphin had been left stranded but further investigations revealed it was free to swim back into deeper water.

The dolphin was first spotted in the Dee at Connah's Quay
The dolphin was first spotted in the Dee at Connah's Quay
 

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on behalf of Flint Coastguard said: “At around 5.30pm on Monday, we received reports that a dolphin had come up on a flood tide and at first, it was thought to be stranded near Connah’s Quay.

“Local coastguards were called to investigate and reported that the 4ft mammal didn’t appear to be stranded or injured and it had enough water.

“The RSPCA and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue were informed and concluded that it didn’t appear to be in any difficulty.

“Coastguards left the scene at 8.05pm that night and there have been no more reports about the dolphin since so it might have made its way back to sea.”

Experts from Anglesey Sea Zoo last night said it appeared to be a short beaked common dolphin adding: “It is so rare to see one dolphin alone at all.”