Photographer Michael Sutton has come across his fair share of lost wallets and phones on his morning beach walk, but stumbling across a dead dolphin was a first.
Mr Sutton was walking along Greenhills beach in Cronulla, south of Sydney, just before 7 am on Monday when he saw the two-metre sea animal lying on the beach with large bite marks on it, believed to be from a shark.
"Initially, I thought it was a whale of some kind, but as far as I knew whales don’t have teeth as such," Mr Sutton told Yahoo News Australia.
"It looked like it had been scarred maybe from old age, all I thought about was how big the shark was that took a large [chunk] out of it."
'Most unusual thing I've found on the beach': Michael Sutton
Mr Sutton reported the dolphin didn't smell, leading him to believe it had only been on the beach for a couple of hours.
"It is the most unusual and largest thing I’ve ever found on the beach," he said, adding in the past he's found his fair share of lost property but no marine life.
"I guess getting down to the beach every day well before sunrise every day for the past 15 years has more than one benefit," he continued.
"The early bird catches the worm, in my case I found a Risso's dolphin," he joked.
A spokesperson for Sutherland Shire Council told Nine News the council had worked with wildlife services to remove the dolphin carcass from the beach on Monday.
"Sutherland Shire Council's Ocean Safety and Lifeguard unit was alerted to a large dolphin carcass which had been washed ashore north of Wanda Beach, Cronulla, early yesterday," the spokesperson for Sutherland Shire Council said.
"Sutherland Shire Council thanks those members of the public who alerted our staff to the issue, ensuring that Council could swiftly engage relevant authorities and ensure the carcass could be promptly removed from the site."
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.