Reports received of Marine Creatures sighted, stranded or landed during
A list compiled by Raymond Dennis
A Minke Whale Carcass was found washed up at Paynters Cove near St Loy
soon after Christmas 1997
8/1/98 A carcass thought to be of a Pilot Whale was reported on St.Loy beach SW423230. The carcass looked as if it had been there for some time. This could however be the remains of the Minke carcass washed along the beach from Paynters Cove
15/1/98 Report received that on Christmas Eve 1997 Richard Eade of Newlyn was walking along Long Rock Beach when he noticed a dolphin caught up in nets some way off shore, he waded into the sea nearly up to his waist and brought the dolphin ashore. With the help of others he managed to free the struggling dolphin and rather than trying to put it back into the sea in the waves on the shore they loaded it into the estate car of one of the helpers and took it to Newlyn Old Harbour where they put it back into the water from one of the boats. The dolphin became temporarily entangled in ropes attached to the boats before swimming out of the harbour.
15/1/98 Report received that on Sat. 27th Dec 1997 surfers at Sennen were surprised to find three dolphins playing in the waves with them. Another report from different surfers at Sennen on Sunday 11th January was that three dolphins were actually surfing with them . There were two adults and one juvenile in each case and believed to be Bottlenosed Dolphins.
1/2/98 A pod of about 8 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen off Porthleven SW625254 from 8a.m. to 10a.m. There was at least one juvenile in the pod.
3/2/98 A pod of 8 to 12 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen in Polurrian Cove SW667187 during the morning.
12/2/98 A seahorse which was raised in a lobster pot earlier this week off the Channel Islands went unnoticed for twenty four hours when it was amazingly found alive. It was taken to the Plymouth National Marine Aquarium where it was put into the quatantine tank for a few days. It is hoped to breed from it at a later date. It was one of the two species normally found in British waters., Hippocampus hippocampus.
18/2/98 A very young seal, no more than 2’6” to 3ft long was seen on the rocks between Mousehole and the old Penlee Lifeboat slip from a boat just offshore. It seemed to be in a good state of health and appeared to be just resting but also interested in the observers boat.
1/3/98 A small dolphin carcass was found on the beach at Praa Sands and a photograph was taken. It was no more than about 4ft long. Another carcass was reported at Perranuthnoe at about the same date.
14/3/98 A small pod of about six Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen by canoeists just south of The Grebe SW531289 at about noon. The dolphins came quite close to the canoes showing some interest. There were two juveniles in the pod 1
5/3/98 A small pod of Bottlenosed dolphins, probably no more than three in total, were seen behaving excitedly approximately half a mile off Penzance promenade. They appeared to be playing a game of leap frog over one another between 5.30 and 6.p.m.; they then dived and were not seen again. They were probably juveniles for they were judged to be about 6 to 7 ft long.
15/3/98 A Grey Seal with her yellow (golden labrador colour)pup, which was about 3ft long, were seen on St Clements Island,Mousehole SW474261. They both slipped into the water as the boat approached, and the same thing happened on Tuesday 17th. On Wednesday the 18th however the pair were higher on the island and remained in position as the boat passed at a slightly greater distance. They were seen on the island again during the following two weeks
31/3/98 A fisherman and crew were treated to the pleasure of the company of Two large Bottlenosed Dolphins as they passed Penlee Quarry approaching Newlyn Harbour. The two dolphins suddenly jumped out of the water off the bow of the boat and led the boat nearly as far as the harbour jumping high out of the water on either side of the bow. They were estimated to be more than 8ft long.
2/4/98 A radio report today stated that the Seahorse Aquarium at Exeter has added yet another species of seahorse to its collection. This time it is one of the biggest seahorses in the world, Hippocampus abdominalis, known as the Big Bellied Seahorse, because of the extraordinary size of the males pouch. In Seahorses the males become pregnant.Deposited by the female, eggs are fertilized in the males brood pouch, where they embed in the pouch’s soft tissue, including -in most species- a single membrane dividing the pouch Hippocampus abdominalis’s large pouch has as many as five membranes , giving more surface area for egg emplantation The specimen which arrived was about 7” long but it could grow to 13 or 14”. This species normally lives in the seas around Australia..
16/4/98 A Grey Seal was hauled up dead in a net set for Monk (Angler) Fish on a piece of rough seabed known as the Channock, which is deep off Mousehole, earlier this week
21/4/98 A Basking Shark was hauled up dead today,in a net set for Monk (Angler) Fish outside the Woods Rough, a piece of rough seabed just off Slinke Dean SW461245. depth just outside the Woods Rough would be approximately 30 Metres.
30/4/98 A Basking Shark was seen in Penzance Dock earlier this week when the gates were closed, but it was not seen again after the gates were opened on the next tide. Only the fin was occasionally seen so the size of the fish was not reported. 4/5/98 A large Basking Shark was seen swimming at the surface two or three hundred yards off Pedn-mên-an-mere SW385216 at 1400hrs. It passed between two canoeists and was estimated to be 15ft-18ft long.
4/5/98 An Octopus was brought up in a crab pot by a local fisherman and released again. The body of the animal was 5” to 6” in diameter and the arms 12” to 15” long
7/5/98 A Basking Shark was seen off Clodgy Point SW507416 at about 1700hrs. It appeared close to a divers boat but quickly disappeared. It was a small shark, not more than 8ft long..
8/5/98 Three Octopus were hauled up in different crab pots today off Tater Du SW440228
8/5/98 A 15ft Basking Shark was seen off Porthcurno SW390220 at 1800 today
8/5/98 Four Basking Sharks were seen feeding in an area off St Loy SW425228 at 1830 hrs today. One was approximately 12ft long the other three were larger at about 15ft to 18ft..
14/5/98 There have been radio and newspaper reports this week of 500 Basking Sharks off The Lizard area. I view this figure with some scepticism for the most I have heard any one viewer come up with is a group of about 20.However there is no doubt that there is a large number in the area
17/5/98 A 15ft Basking Shark spent a couple of hours close inshore at Porthcurno this morning. It was feeding and came within a few feet of the shore where poeple were bathing at 10a.m. and again at 11.30 a.m. when it made its way toward Porth Chapel SW382218.
17/5/98 A 9ft Basking Shark was seen at 0800hrs about 2 miles on a course of 147° from Penzance Harbour, making its position approximately SW496275.This small shark appeared to be alone, feeding.
18/5/98 Two 12ft to 14ft Basking Sharks spent much of Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday 18th, 19th and 20th feeding in Whitesand Bay, moving across the bay from Sennen SW353265 to Gywnver SW359278.
19/5/98 A commercial Diver, Hugh Connelly, who was carrying out cable work on Kennack Sands SW738166 for British Telecom this evening swam out to rocks about 50 metres offshore where a 20ft Basking Shark was caught up in a lobster pot line and cut it free.
21/5/98 A report in todays “Cornishman ” states that a 4ft long Porpoise was found stranded on Godrevy Beach by national Trust Warden Mick Ross, who called the rescue team at Gweek Seal Sanctuary. The tide was falling fast so Mick decided to try to get it back into the sea himself. He managed to get it out until he was waist deep only to watch the porpoise swim around a rock back into shallow water. He had to repeat the operation a second and third time when he took the animal out until he was chest deep before the porpoise swam off across the bay. Mick was very cold and tired by the time the rescue team arrived.
24/5/98 Three medium sized Basking Sharks were seen feeding for several hours around mid-day by fishermen working an area off Lamorna SW453230.
28/5/98 Three medium sized Basking Sharks were seen feeding, mid morning, from a diving boat proceeding from Sennen Cove SW351253 to Longships Lighthouse SW320253.
2/6/98 Three Orcas or Killer Whales were seen about one mile off St.Michaels Mount, Mounts Bay during the day. 7/6/98 A pod of about 10 Bottlenosed Dolphin were seen playing at the surface around a Crabber fishing boat as they were hauling Pots 8 miles south of Newlyn harbour at about mid-day.
21/6/98 A pod of 10 to 12 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen close inshore off Penlee Quarry SW469278 at 0730 hrs. They were all about 8ft or more in length.
25/6/98 Many Aurelia aurita jellyfish have been seen floating on the sea along the South Penwith Coast this week. Also a few Chrysaora isosceles (Compass Jellyfish).
27/6/98 Five Bottlenosed Dolphin were seen off Chy-an-dour, Penzance SW480305 at Mid-Day. They were very active, jumping clear of the water for some time, and all medium sized adults.
28/6/98 A pod of Risso’s Dolphins were seen off Porthtowan during the past week. This was a pod of about eight animals and a lifeguard had the privilege of swimming with them.
28/6/98 A pod of four or five Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen heading eastwards off Trevose Head at 1500 hrs. 18/7/98 A pod of about six Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen from a boat in Falmouth Bay during the afternoon.
25/7/98 Six Basking Sharks were seen about a mile and a half south of Boscawen Point in position approximately SW430210. at mid day Two of these were described as small, two as medium, one as big and one as very big, at least 20ft in length. The dorsal fin of the larger one was said to be flopping over to one side. Divers entered the water with the sharks which came very close to the divers R.I.B. (Rigid Inflateable Boat)
2/8/98 A very large Leatherback Turtle was seen off the Longships Lighthouse from a passing fishing boat during the day.
2/8/98 Two Basking Sharks were seen off Carn-du SW457237 during the morning and were seen again in the same area two days later on Tuesday 4th August. they were medium size about 12 to 15ft.
5/8/98 Two dolphins were seen near Low Lee Reef SW481273 at about 0800. One was described as having a bulbous nose, and being flecked with white, Could this be the pair seen together a few times in the past, of one Bottlenosed and one Risso’s Dolphin.? The size was right for they were described as being from 8 to 10ft long, the size given for previous sightings.
6/8/98 A pair of dolphins were seen jumping high out of the water off St, Michaels Mount SW510295 in the early morning. They were seen from a boat much further out at sea and were not identified. They were probably Bottlenosed Dolphins. 6/8/98 The crew of a fishing boat heading eastwards off the North Penwith Coast came across a pod of 12 to 15 Basking Sharks two miles off Gurnards Head SW432388. As they proceeded eastward they saw several more in twos and threes in the next couple of miles making a total of about 30 animals. There were sharks of various sizes in the group.
6/8/98 The National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek received a 3 day old female grey seal in late July. This was the earliest in any year that a young seal had been brought to the sanctuary. Pups born that early in the year usually survive in the wild because the seas are usually calmer than a few months later, but it is thought that this one had been abandoned by its mother because of human disturbance.
6/8/98 Visitors to Newquay Sea Life Centre are being asked to spy on one of their most popular exhibits. they would like to find out whether the Seahorses are as faithful to their partners as they are reputed to be. They were thought to be monogamous, with the females delivering their eggs to just one male suitor, who then rears the young. However recent observations have sowed a seed of doubt and staff are wondering if the females “play around” and visitors are issued with a survey form to report what they observe.
6/8/98 Seaquest Southwest, the marine group set up earlier this year now has over 180 members. Over 110 Basking Shark sightings have been reported around Cornwall as well as Killer Whales, Risso’s Dolphins Bottlenosed Dolphins & Porpoises.
8/8/98 On a return trip from the Isles of Scilly aboard Scillonian III visitors were delighted to see a Humpback Whale, a Minke Whale, Porpoises and Common Dolphins
14/8/98 Large numbers of Blue Sharks have been reported off the coast of Devon. no very large Sharks were reported but they can grow to a length of 12ft. They are not considered to be dangerous to humans.
14/8/98 The carcass of a Striped Dolphin was found washed ashore at Northcott Mouth SS201085
15/8/98 A small solitary Basking Shark, not more than 9ft in length, was seen feeding well out in Mounts Bay, position approximately SW480200 at about mid-day.
16/8/98 Three Basking Sharks were seen from the Cliff Top at Land’s End at 1600 hrs. One was estimated to be 3M in length and the others larger at 4 to 5 Metres.
24/8/98 A Sunfish was seen being harassed by gulls about half a mile of Carn-du SW457237 at 1100hrs.
26/8/98 Three Risso’s Dolphins were seen in Mounts Bay
27/8/98 A crab-pot fisherman working pot between Carn-du SW457237 and Penberth Cove
SW404226 saw what he believed to be the same 8ft long Basking Shark on each day of this week at various places along that stretch of coast.
28/8/98 Four large Basking Sharks were seen between Cape Cornwall and The Brisons in the late afternoon. They were all about 20ft long.
28/8/98 The carcass of a Striped Dolphin, which had been dead for some time, was pulled in from the ebbing tide by lifeguards at Porthmeor Beach SW515410. It was placed in a locker until collected for Post Mortem. This was the 4th dead Striped Dolphin on Cornish Beaches this year.
30/8/98 A Sunfish was found on the surface about a ½mile off Tater-du SW440229 and was taken aboard a dive boat and examined. It appeared to be reasonably clean, and not infested with the parasitic copepod Lepeophtheirus nordmanni as was another specimen previously collected in September 1992 off St.Ives. It was returned to the sea.
30/8/98 A Humpback Whale was seen Breaching from Carn Gloose SW352313 earlier this month. The observer watched for something like an hour before it breached again. It was well out beyond the Brisons Rocks SW340312 each time. 2/9/98 Another Sunfish recently caught off Dorset has been taken to Weymouth Sealife Centre where it is having an infestation of parasites removed. This would be another young one, for it was only about 1½ meters long and adults can reach 3 or 4M, and 3300lbs.
2/9/98 A Short-snouted Seahorse, Hippocampus hippocampus, was collected recently just off Plymouth. It was a male of 2” long and thought to be about 1½ years old. It was taken to The National Marine Aquarium. It is one of two species which can be found in British waters, the other which is more commonly found is Hippocampus guttulatus (=H. ramulosus).
2/9/98 A pod of 7 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen west of St.Michael’s Mount at 8a.m.
2/9/98 A pod of Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen at mid-day just outside Penzance harbour. They were all large adult animals and about 20 in number.
2/9/98 A lone Bottlenosed Dolphin was seen off Penzer Point SW467249 at 0800hrs. It was about 8ft long.
3/9/98 A crab-pot fisherman hauling pots off St. Loy Cove SW424230 noticed a shoal of fish swimming so close to the surface that their dorsal fins were out of the water. As they came closer he recognised them as Triggerfish, a species he often brings up in his pots at this time of year.
10/9/98 A small pod of up to 6 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen in the mouth of the river Camel.
11/9/98 Three dolphins, thought to be Risso’s were seen off Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth Bay during the day.
19/9/98 A pod of about 8 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen in the Carrick Roads, Falmouth
20/9/98 Fifteen Bottlenosed Dolphins of various sizes were seen off Carlyon Bay SX057552
21/9/98 Three Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen from a boat off Loe Bar SW643240 at noon. They were about 8ft long.
22/9/98 A crabpot fisherman had to make a sudden change of direction with his 30ft craft at 8.a.m. off Lamorna Cove SW451241 in choppy conditions to avoid hitting a Basking Shark which he spotted at the last moment. He missed the shark by nearly 2ft, it was about 10ft long.
27/9/98 A Basking Shark was seen off Tater-du SW440229 early in the morning, It was about 10ft long and probably the same shark as that seen on the 22nd Sept by the same fisherman off Lamorna Cove.
28/9/98 Just before darkness set in this evening a small fishing vessel a few hundred yards South East of Newlyn Lighthouse fishing for pilchards with ring nets was surrounded by a pod of Bottlenosed Dolphins. There was reported to be approximately 30 dolphins in the pod.
3/10/98 A small pod of 3 or 4 Bottlenosed Dolphin were seen off Chapel Porth SW695496.
4/10/98 A pod of 6 to 8 Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen off Portwrinkle SX355535.
4/10/98 There was a late sighting of a Sunfish off the Plymouth Breakwater on the Cornish side.
14/10/98 A pod of about a dozen Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen at 1730 to 1800 hrs well out in Mounts Bay around an oily patch on a calm sea which was possibly left by a fishing boat seen in the area while cleaning their catch of pilchard or herring. The dolphins would occasionally get quite excited, jumping well clear of the water.
15/10/98 A pod of 4 Bottlenosed Dolphins including one juvenile was seen in Mounts Bay.
18/10/98 The headless carcass of a young seal was found on the eastern end of the beach at Praa Sands SW585276. The skull and upper jaw was later found elsewhere on the beach.
24/10/98 A badly decomposed carcass of a Leatherback Turtle 6ft long was found in Fowey harbour today and another one was found recently at Mexico Beach,near Upton Towans.
31/10/98 A rare sea fish which has only been landed in Britain four or five times in the last 20 years has recently been preserved by the Truro self taught taxidermist Kenny Everett which took him three weeks to complete. The fish was a Louvar which bear some resemblance to the members of the tunny family but is placed in a family of it’s own the Luvaridae It was caught off Newlyn in August, bought by Smart’s the fish merchant of Newlyn who commissioned the work by Mr.Everett. and will now form part of Smart’s growing collection of strange and rare fish. The Louvar was 4ft long but can grow to 6ft or more . It is a most striking fish, deep bodied, with a high almost vertical profile and a brilliant pale pink lower body and deep blue above. The fins are scarlet except that the tail fin is deep blue with reddish tinges. The adult is totally different from the young fish which goes through several characteristic stages of development and this has led to several of these stages being recognised at some time as distinct species, or even genera, of fishes.. Only adults have occurred in northern European waters although it has a world wide distribution in warm temperate seas but not reported on tropical waters on either side of the equator. They have a toothless small mouth and feed on jellyfish and the like. It is known to breed in the Mediterranean where many of the highly variable young stages have been captured, but many details of its life history are yet unknown.
3/11/98 R.S.P.C.A.Officers were called to Marazion beach at 11.p.m. after two men were observed battering a baby seal. The pup had earlier been found in a poor condition and exhaused hauled up onto a slipway by a Mr. Lawrence who had gone to phone the R.S.P.C.A. but on his return he found two men beating the baby seal. They were wearing hard hats with lights of the type used by night anglers, and made off when disturbed. The pup escaped back into the sea but is not thought to have survived the beating
5/11/98 A rare albino lobster landed at Newlyn recently .has been taken to the Newquay Sea Life Centre. It weighed about two pounds making it 4 or 5 years old and is lucky to have survived that long being so conspicuous to predators. It was caught in a ray net and will probably live longer in it’s new home than it would have in the wild.
7/11/98 A recent stranding of a Porpoise at Porth Looney brought the total of cetacean strandings on Cornish Beaches this year to 56.
7/11/98 There have been 5 Seal carcasses found on Cornish beaches since 1st October . One at Porthtowan on the 12th; Pups at Sennen and Praa Sands on the 17th and 20th. One at Fishing Cove near Hell’s Mouth also on the 20th appeared to have been shot and there was another in early November at Lusty Glaze, Newquay.
12/11/98 Radio Cornwall reported that a badly decomposed carcass of a Risso’s dolphin had been washed up on the coast near Northcott Mouth. SS200085, just north of Bude. This was the fourth Risso’s washed up on the coast of Cornwall this year. They are easily identified from other dolphins when close up by their very pale colour and absence of beak, and the head has a cleft down the front to the jaw. All adults will have scarring of parallel fine white lines all over their bodies, these are produced by other Risso’s with their teeth which are unique in the dolphins being only at the front of the lower jaw, all other dolphins have teeth in both upper and lower jaws, so the Risso’s would be identifiable from only the skeleton. Other cetaceans with teeth only in the lower jaw are the Sperm Whale and Pygmy Sperm Whale which feed mainly on Squid as does the Risso’s.
18/11/98 A carcass of a Dolphin found washed up on Wherrytown Beach SW467294 today was removed to Polwhele for post mortem examination.
21/11/98 A small green crab, named a Mitten Crab,because of hair-like growths on their claws,was recently found in the Teign Estuary. An immigrant to British waters from China several years ago probably arrived in the bilge water of ships and then flushed out here; but it had never before been found this far west.It is a fresh water crab but has to return to salt water to breed. Living in estuaries it will leave the water for short periods to feed and can burrow into river banks causing them to collapse, speeding up the erosion process which causes some concern to environmentalists This female crab, about the size of our Shore Crab was discovered in a bait trap and can now be seen at the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth.
23/11/98 Two adult and one juvenile Bottlenosed Dolphin were jumping around a crabber fishing boat as it left Newlyn Harbour during the day.
23/11/98 A pod of about 40 porpoises were seen out in the middle of Mounts Bay, about half way between Porthcurnow and The Lizard about mid-day.
27/11/98 A lone fisherman off The Lizard last weekend saw an unidentified whale, he was heard to call over his radio to other fishermen ‘e was a bloody great thing and when ‘e blawed it went 20ft into the air”.
27/11/98 A Common Dolphin carcasse was found on Marazion Beach earlier this week, this makes the number up to 60 cetacean carcasses on Cornish beaches this year as well as 17 on Devon beaches.
1/12/98 A dead seal was found on the beach at Wherrytown, Penzance today.
6/12/98 A keen wildlife observer, Paul Semmens, watching from Cape Cornwall today saw a Minke Whale, a small pod of 3 Risso’s Dolphins and a pod of about 6 Porpoises around the Brisons Rocks, and also a pair of unidentified dolphins further off shore.
7/12/98 A pod of approximately 40 Common Dolphins were jumping and playing around a crabber fishing boat at they were dropping pots overboard about 2 miles off Tater-du SW440229 at 0900hrs today.
15/12/98 The same Crab Pot fisherman returning to his pot marker buoys at 0800 hrs 2 miles south off Tater-du in heavy swell conditions noticed a pod of about 40 Common Dolphin coming surfing down the swells toward him and they stayed around the boat for about half an hour while he was tending to his pots. He said that when he first saw them they looked like an army advancing toward him.
19/12/98 A pod of Fin Whales, two possibly three, were seen off Carn Barges SW446234. This is the third December running that Fin Whales have been seen off the Lands End peninsula.They had been seen spouting off Porthcurno early in the month and it is thought that they are the same individuals as seen in previous years, as studies in Canada has shown that Fin Whales do return to the same areas over several years.
Cornish Marine Life Records (Ray Dennis) 1999
Smith's One-List/Cornish Wildlife
Seaquest SW (Cornwall Wildlife Trust web pages)
|Cetaceans (Whales & Dolphins)|
|Elasmobranchs (Sharks & Rays) (including Basking Sharks)|
|Cephalopods (Octopuses & Cuttlefish)|