Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the fauna and flora of the NE Atlantic Ocean

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Spring 2011

BMLSS (England) Index
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Link to the Marine Life News web pages for 2011

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World Oceans Day 
BBC Buoy Table (Sea Temperatures, Wave Heights etc.)
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For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below:

Winter 2011 News Reports, January - March
Spring 2010 News
Link to the News Reports, October to December 2011





27 June 2011
A small tidal wave was seen off Marazion in Cornwall (by St, Michaels Mount) and estimated at 0.3 metre high at 10:15 am, appearing like a small bore in the Yealm Estuary (SE of Plymouth flowing out into Wembury Bay), and detected on the south-western coast of the British Isles recording tidal anomalies in Newlyn, Cornwall at 0.2 metres above predicted, in Plymouth at 0.3 m  and in Portsmouth at 0.4 m. The British Geological Survey said there was no appreciable seismic activity in the UK over the weekend.

17 June 2011
A dead and decomposed Moray Eel, Muraena helena, was removed from the water by the Condor ferry ramp in St. Peter Port Harbour, Guernsey. This southern sub-tropical species is an extremely rare discovery in British seas and is normally found found around the Azores, Canary Islands and in the Mediterranean Sea and further south. The last discovery in Guernsey seas was in 1996

16 June 2011
Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, was spotted lunge feeding in Aberdeen Harbour, during the evening. The following dawn it (or another whale) was seen off Chanonry Point, Moray Firth, for two hours and later seen breaching near the Sutors of Cromarty at 10:00 am. The whale was off-route but it was seen moving further out of sea. The large deep water Humpback Whales migrate between their winter breeding grounds off Africa to summer feeding grounds around Iceland and are more likely to be seen off the western coast of the British Isles. 

11 June 2011

Environmental Festival & Adur World Oceans Day 2011
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

The wind and rain held off for the eleventh Adur Environment Festival and Adur World Oceans Day went well in the marquee on Coronation Green, by Shoreham Footbridge at the High Street end on the second Saturday of the Adur Festival. Len Nevell of the British Marine Life Study Society was there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs
World Oceans Day on Facebook

"The aim of the event is to introduce the young visitors to the world of the sea and seashore, an opportunity they may not get.It is an educational event with an opportunity for children to participate in the interactive 
Quote by Andy Horton (British Marine Life Study Society)

Adur World Oceans Day Blogspot 2011 et seq

8 June 2011
Spotted Bass, Dicentrarchus punctatus, was caught on rod and line by Lee Allen off the west coast of Jersey, Channel Islands. This southern warm water species is a rare visitor to the English Channel and differs from the common Bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, by having dark black spots on its silver flanks. Only a handful of Spotted Bass have been reported from British seas, but some fish may have been dismissed as a variant of the Bass rather than a different species. 

1 June 2011
An Otter, Lutra lutra, was spotted on a Dorset beach at West Bay, bear Bridport.

31 May 2011

Sperm Whale at Redcar (Photograph by Chris Small)

A  10.6 metre Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered washed up alive at dawn on the sandy beach at Redcar, Cleveland, near Middlesbrough, in the north-east of England. The stricken 20 tonne mammal died a few hours later about 9.00 am

Photograph by Chris Small on flickr

Sperm Whale
Photograph by Cathy McBurney on flickr

21 May 2011
A large pod of 21 Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, was spotted in an area known as the Celtic Deep, between north Cornwall and south west Pembrokeshire, about 60 miles offshore. Becky Scott explained: “We saw five groups of Fin Whales in little over half an hour, in group sizes of up to seven. The whales were blowing frequently and some were lunge-feeding near the surface.” 
"“We have been monitoring Fin Whale numbers in their Bay of Biscay stronghold for over 15 years, so we are used to seeing large numbers, but to see so many within British waters in close proximity is unprecedented and an exciting new discover," said Dr Tom Brereton of Marinelife
Dr Jeroen van der Kooij from Cefas commented: “acoustic echosounders detected dense layers of krill as well as sandeel schools in the area, both of which are known to be key food sources for these animals.”

Fin Whale (Photograph by Tom Brereton)
Fin Whale
Krill Meganyctiphanes norvegica

Fin Whale 
Photograph by Dr Tom Brereton

Due to a lack of surveys in the past, it is unclear if Fin Whales have always been present in the Celtic Deep in the spring, but they are certainly rare during the summer months when most surveys take place. However, recent survey work by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the Sea Trust and Sea Watch Foundation indicate that Fin Whales and other large whales are being increasingly encountered in the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea.

BMLSS Cetaceans

19 - 22 May 2011
A large school of sixty plus Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas, were spotted swimming around in the confined shallow coastal sea area of Loch Carnon, South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, Western Isles, Scotland. Twenty of the small whales were recognised as being injured from colliding with rocks in the narrow sea inlet that opens out into the Sea of the Hebrides on the eastern side of the island. Experienced cetacean watchers said that the whales were very vocal on the first day when they were near to the shore, but swam into deeper water in the loch on the spring tide and quietened down. As with the school that visited the loch on 2010, there were serious concerns that the school of whales would become stranded on the shore with healthy whales following the sick and injured to their deaths. Finally the large school left the loch and swam south, but still close to the rocky coastline. One dead Pilot Whale was left behind and a post mortem is being undertaken in gale force winds. 
PS: In 1837, 192 Pilot Whales got trapped in Clachan Sound, Scotland. 

Retrieval of a dead Pilot Whale
Jonathan Mitchell Photography

British Divers Marine Life Rescue and boatmen from the Loch Carnan Salmon Farm and Smokery take samples for a post-mortem and recover the corpse of the second dead Pilot Whale off the rocks at Rhughasanish Point at Loch Carnan on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

Photographand comments by Jonathan Mitchell

Map of the Hebridean Seas
Map of Carnan Pier Area
BMLSS Cetaceans
Previous Report from Loch Carnan 2010
15 May 2011
An unusual orange European Lobster, Homarus gammarus,  was caught by a fisherman Steph Noel near Icho Bank, South of St Helier, Jersey, in his pots with the usual blue lobsters. Steph had only caught three similarly coloured lobsters in 27 years of fishing for them. The lobster was returned to the sea.
Photograph by Steph Noel

Report by Nicolas Jouault via Société Jersiaise

BMLSS Abnormal Lobsters

11 May 2011
A White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhyncus albirostris, was washed up dead at Osmington Mills near Weymouth, Dorset.

Report and Photograph by Steve Trewhella on Facebook Strandlines & Beachcombing

10 May 2011
Two rarely recorded warm water alien species of barnacle have been discovered on fishing pots tackle off the coast of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The Stalked Barnacle, Scalpellum scalpellum, was last recorded in 1862 although a specimen was found in 2003. The other species was an Acorn Barnacle, Solidobalanus fallax, which was previously recorded off Plymouth.

21 April 2011
A Boar Fish (or Zulu Fish), Capros aper, was behaving strangely, swimming near the surface on an exposed rockpool at Challaborough Beach, south Devon, and we moved it from where we found it to a more secluded pool.

Report by Victoria Shore

This pretty deep water fish is occasionally found in shallow water of the south-west of England with occasional specimens a notable and interesting discovery between the tides
BMLSS Boar Fish

17 April 2011
A damaged 10.5 metre Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered washed up on the beach at Baleshare, South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 

BMLSS Cetaceans


British Marine Life News 2010

Cornish Marine Life Records 2009 (Ray Dennis Records)
BMLSS Oil Disasters page


The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum



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