of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents
and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the
NE Atlantic Ocean.
Report of Huge Pods of Dolphins
around 3:00 pm to 4.30 pm,
I witnessed myself a very large pod of
dolphins swimming eastwards up the English
Channel past Polperro, Cornwall. It was impossible, even through my telescope,
to firmly identify the species, but there were a mix of (probably) Common
Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, and
phocoena. They were leaping from the water from about a half mile from
the coast to the horizon, and spread over the four miles or so that I can
see from my window. Numbers must have been
well over 1,000. A fantastic sight to
witness, and one I have not seen before in my nine years in Polperro.
level of oil pollution on Belgium's west coast worsened as more and bigger
oil slicks from the sunken vessel Tricolor washed ashore and strong
winds hampered clean-up operations. A spokeswoman with a Belgian North
Sea ecosystem management institute, BMM, said the situation at Zeebrugge
and Blankenberge had worsened since yesterday and oil slicks several square
metres in size were being washed ashore. The Knokke-Heist Council also
reported that oil clumps had polluted the beach at Heist, but it was not
yet certain whether the oil had infiltrated the De Baai Nature Reserve.
Oil has also washed ashore at Bredene, but the town's Mayor, Willy Vanhooren,
said the situation was not yet an environmental disaster.
Jellyfish & large Medusae
of By-the-Wind Sailor,
velella, are discovered washed up, alive or very freshly dead,
on Perranporth Beach, Cornwall, together with the Violet
Snail, Janthina janthina, (two
shells) that preys on Velella. This gastropod
is rarely recorded in British seas even when there are large numbers of
stranded. It is always worth looking for this attractive and fragile shell.
between 100 and 200 of the small jellyfish called Pelagia
noctiluca, the Mauve Stinger or
'Nightlight' jellyfish were also discovered.
These swarms seems to occur about every five or ten years, and is easily
recognised by the pustules that cover the small (rarely more that 75 mm
across) dome or umbrella.
of all three species of large
British cuttlefish, Sepia,
(a tiny mesopelagic cephalopod) shell were also found in the squally conditions
on the shore.
Goodall has also found large numbers of Velella,
on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall.
14 metre long male Sperm
Whale, Physeter macrocephalus,
beached at the mouth of the River Ouse, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, and died
as a result of the stranding. The dead whale was present on Brest Sands
in the Wash the following day when Rob
Deaville from the Natural History Museum performed a post-mortem.
The ultimate cause of the live stranding could not be determined but the
animal appeared to be reasonably aged (very worn teeth) so this may have
played a factor. This large whale is rarely stranded on English North Sea
coasts, with the first of the 20th century in 1986
and four records thereafter.
Whale (southern North Sea, stranded dead) 2000
- 28 January 2003
January 2003, the numbers are much greater
than this and oiled birds are being found over a wider range. On Dunkerque
(France) beaches we discovered 125 dead oiled birds (mainly Guillemot)
and only four survivors. The count for Belgium is over 2000 surviving birds.
a period of five days, at least 2,000 oiled
birds have washed ashore on Belgian beaches,
especially between De Panne and Ostend and more are coming in.
majority of the birds are Guillemots,
but more than 100 Razorbills
were also washed ashore.
Marine Turtle Stranding Network
live Green Turtle, Chelonia
mydas, was stranded on the west coast
of Guernsey (Channel Islands) in the afternoon.
Green, was playing
football with his young son, discovered the
turtle on Saline Beach and reported it to the Guernsey Society for the
Protection of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA).
Geoff George and Yvonne Chauvel (in the photograph) collected
the turtle, and after it had been treated by veterinarian John
Knight, transferred it to the Guernsey
Aquarium at St. Peter Port until arrangements can be made to release
it into the sea at a suitable location (preferably warm water). The
curved carapace length of the turtle is 75 cm and the curved carapace width
is 68 cm. This turtle inhabits tropical seas including the Atlantic coast
of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. This turtle is only very rarely recorded
in British seas. This is the seventh
confirmed record from around Britain, although there may be an eighth
record from Essex.
white spots are a species of turtle barnacle, which may have not been recorded
before on the British list of marine (barnacle)
species (MCS Directory).
Turtle Information Page
Marine Mammal and Marine Turtle Strandings Project
jellyfish weighing an estimated 15 kg was washed up at Lepe Country Park
on the Solent coast in Hampshire (SZ 459 985).
excellent photograph of the underside confirmed this as the first reported
specimen of Rhizostoma octopus
and Dolphin Conservation Society
cetaceans, have been washed up on the
shores of south Cornwall this year, so that the recorders and helpers including
Ball of the Silver
Dolphin Conservation and Diving Centre at Porthleven, Cornwall can
hardly keep track of the 'tide' of carcasses. The dolphins have been in
the sea for long enough for them to start to decompose. They are all tagged
with with cable ties around the tail, so that if they wash out and re-beach,
they can be identified. At least some of them have probably been caught
in fishing nets.
January 2003 the number had risen to 55. Most
have been Common Dolphins (Delphinus
delphis), one was a Striped Dolphin (Stenella
coeruleoalba), Harbour Porpoises,
(Phocoena phocoena), number about 10, and several carcasses were
too decayed to be identified.
Ball advised me that the number had increased to 74, rising to 77 by
4 January 2003
the Polperro (south Cornwall) bottom trawler "Girl Jane" reported an extraordinary
dolphin sighting whilst fishing some 13 miles west of Plymouth, and about
two miles offshore, they encountered a pod
of leaping dolphins estimated to be "many
hundreds", perhaps a thousand. The species was not identified. At the same
time they received a call on the radio from a sister ship fishing 10 miles
east off Rame Head that they were surrounded by at least two hundred dolphins
(obviously a different pod).
January 2003 Polperro trawler "Girl Jane"
(again) reported another huge pod of dolphins
and porpoises, whilst shooting nets some
20 miles off Rame Head. Trawler "Cazadora", three miles or so away at the
time also recorded dolphins. In both cases the number reported was "hundreds".
Also, the Plymouth mackerel boats off Eddystone reef stopped fishing as
they were catching dolphins rather than fish.
on the north-west coast of England are unusual, although there have been
specimens washed up on much more northerly Scottish islands. Even on the
south west coasts, reports in the year 2002
were reduced in numbers.
dog discovered a 25 cm (10 in) long Triggerfish,
capriscus, are washed up dead on the beach between Seascale and
Sellafield (Cumbria). I recognised the body shape and the shell crunching
type of teeth in the book.