Geoff Peck of Mill Place took a picture of this bird standing in the sand in the resort.
Penguins have never been spotted in the North Sea and the only breed living north of the equator is the Galapagos Penguin.
But Geoff and his wife Linda were 100 per cent certain of what they saw – especially after seeing it shoot off through the water.
They took photographs of the bird after their son, who was on the Kingsway at the time, told them a crowd of onlookers had gathered and were trying to figure out what it was. Some were also taking pictures.
Linda said: "We were 100 per cent convinced it was a penguin. It waddled like a penguin, it couldn't fly like a penguin and it took off through the water like a penguin. When it found the water's edge it literally fell in and took off like a missile being fired from a submarine. It was fantastic to watch.
"It was certainly no bird I have seen before. The only thing that threw me was when it sat down it looked like a duck, but I have never seen a duck swim like that. It was unbelievable."
But Linda and Geoff were left disappointed after a conservation programme in Devon confirmed it was nothing more than a common Guillemot – a bird often mistaken for a penguin.