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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Winter 2012

Marine Life News 2012

BMLSS (England) Index
Link to the British Marine Life Study Society Facebook page
Link to the Marine Life News web pages for 2011

Norwegian Marine***
to Other Sites
(Click on Text)
Yahoo Group
British Marine Wildlife
Group Photo Pool
World Register of Marine Species
Link to the Aphoto pages
Link to Sealordphotography
Encyclopedia of Marine Life 
Articles in other Journals. Publications

Monthly Marine News Bulletin
Link to the Fishbase web pages
 Cetacean List (NE Atlantic)
Link to the Marine Conservation Society pages

CEFAS Marine Monitoring
Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Snail Mail
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2009

World Oceans Day 
BBC Buoy Table (Sea Temperatures, Wave Heights etc.)
Magic Map now has a Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas


01825  765546 


 0207 942 5155 


   For more reports click on the seasonal buttons below: 

Winter 2011 News Reports, January - March
Spring 2012 News Reports (Link)
SUMMER 2012 News
Link to the News Reports, October to December 2012



9 June 2012

Environmental Festival & Adur World Oceans Day 2012
Understanding and celebrating our marine environment

The twelfth Adur Environment Festival and Adur World Oceans Day 2012 will take place 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 will be there with the usual exhibition of lobsters and crabs.

World Oceans Day on Facebook

Participants are still welcome but they will need to book their place as soon as possible. Click on the image above for contact details and more information.
Admission: FREE

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages
For details of the Porcupine Marine Nature History Society meetings click on the link on the left


27 March 2012
Marine Strategy Framework Directive Consultation: UK Initial Assessment and proposals for Good Environmental Status 
The EU Directive requires Member States to take measures to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status (GES) for their seas by 2020.  GES involves protecting the marine environment, preventing its deterioration and restoring it where practical, while using marine resources sustainably.
The consultation ends on 18 June 2012.
defra Information Page
25 March 2012
Discovered stranded by the receding equinoctial spring tide, this Lesser Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was high and dry at Llandudno on the north Wales coast.. I dug a shallow depression underneath it which filled with water, allowing it to breath. Initially the pupil was almost closed, but got larger after about ten minutes.
"I was amazed how it could change colour and shape, and the feeling of the tentacles gripping my fingers was quite strange. Anyway, after a brief photoshoot, I'm happy to say she was free to carry on chasing crabs and lobsters."

BMLSS Octopuses

A major gas leak from the Elgin platform, 150 miles off Aberdeen, has and continues to pollute the North Sea with a sheen of  of gas condensate, and measuring six nautical miles in length. Total E&P UK Limited believes the leak is coming from a rock formation above the main reservoir, at a depth of 4,000 metres.

23 March 2012
Only the second British mainland record of the or sea slater Dynamene magnitorata was discovered at Penzance, Cornwall, by David Fenwick (Aphotomarine). This very small (male  > 6 mm) isopod was found on the side of a small Corallina covered rock, in a middle shore rockpool at Chimney Rocks just west of the Jubillee Pool. This is a southern species known from around the Channel Islands. There is a close species, the dull white Dynamene bidentata found amongst barnacles on the lower shore, mostly on the western coasts of the British Isles. 

Marine Biological Association of the UK
Previous Record

Early March 2012
A Slipper Lobster,Scyllarus arctus, caught in a creel off Salcombe, south Devon, was returned alive. "These small clawless lobsters are a range extension species and seem to be spreading into British waters. This is about 35th I have records of and I should appreciate any other reports. This was an ovigerous female and most females found over the last eight years have been "in berry".

Report and comments by Doug Herdson (Fish Information Services)
from a report in Fishing News

9 March 2012
A spectacular cliff fall occurred between Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse on the Kent coast when an area the size of a football pitch suddenly fell away, sending thousands of tonnes of chalk crashing 100 metres down on to the shore in an area known as Crab Bay, part of the white cliffs of Dover

Discovering Fossils (Dover, Kent)

View of the Crab Bay cliff fall, from Langdon Heights
Photograph on the left by Kevin Mudge-Wood/TAT Photography

View of the cliff fall from the bottom of the cliffs
Photograph by Lee Pelling Photography

Click on the image for the report

4 March 2012
Three Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus griseus, were visible from the from road that skirts the northern shore of Catfirth, Shetland Islands. They surfaced every couple of minutes or so in the early afternoon. 
Image Gallery (Shetland Wildlife)

Report on Shetland Wildlife on facebook
BMLSS  Whales & Dolphins

3 March 2012

Sperm Whale
Photographs by Gaz West
Sperm Whale Image Gallery

The carcass of a smelly 10.7 metre (35 ft) long Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore on the sandy beach at Skegness on the Lincolnshire North Sea coast.

Previous Sperm Whale Stranding at Skegness 2006
BMLSS Cetaceans

19 February 2012
A Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was seen by lots of people on the beach at Monifieth (north shore of Firth of Tay) in the afternoon. Because of the scarcity of visits by this Arctic seal, it may be the same individual that was seen hauled out on a dock at Tayport just after Christmas 2012

Report by Colin T Reid

                          Photograph by Sam Gibson

BMLSS Bearded Seals

23 January 2012
It was only a matter of time before Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaengliae, joined the feeding activity off Hook Head, County Wexford on the south-east coast of Ireland, given the recent run of Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, in the area. A previously unrecorded Humpback Whale, was the nineteenth individual recorded to date in Irish waters.

20 January 2012
At least six Fin Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, up to 20 metres long, were spotted swimming rapidly on and near the surface. These baleen whales were feeding on Herring off Waterford and County Wexford on the south-east coast of Ireland (St. George's Channel). There have been regular reports from this area plotted on the map by the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group.

18 January 2012
An influx of Arctic species of gulls into the Scotland and the north of Ireland and England has been notable during the coldest month of the year. A rarity was the appearance of a Ross's Gull, Rhodostethia rosea, at Ardglass, County Down, Northern Ireland. It was seen from the harbour wall at the mouth of the harbour entrance, found at 3:20 pm, and viewed until dark. This was the first Ross's Gull for Northern Ireland in 14 years. Eight Iceland Gulls, Larus glaucoides, and three Glaucous Gulls, Larus hyperboreus, were also noted. 

An Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides, was attacked by an Otter, Lutra lutra, in Baltasound, Shetland Islands. 

Iceland Gull & Glaucous Gull ID photograph
Photograph by Pauline Majury
Ross's Gull @ Ardglass Harbour
Photograph by Craig Nash
Peregrine's Bird Blog
Bonaparte's Gull @ Ballygalley
Photograph by Kenny & Pauline Majury
Northern Ireland Birds & Wildlife

16 January 2012
The largest ever Atlantic Cod, Gadus morhua, angled in the English Channel weighed 19.8 kg (43 lb 9 oz) was landed by boat by Chris Proctor and caught 20 miles off Pevensey Bay, East Sussex,

15 January 2012
There were two reports of a Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae, off Aberdeen on the north-east of Scotland.  Kumlien's Gull in Lerwick Harbour (video)

The Bonaparte's Gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia, is the American equivalent of the Black-headed Gull. One was spotted at Ballygalley, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on numerous (over 50) occasions. This was the first one seen in Northern Ireland since 1998.

14 January 2012
A smelly decomposed carcass of a long dead whale washed ashore by the fishermen's huts beneath the cliff at Marwick, Birsay, Orkney Islands, attracted the arctic gulls in like a magnet. Iceland Gulls, Larus glaucoides, and Glaucous Gulls, Larus hyperboreus, were joined by the far rarer Kumlien's Gull, Larus glaucoides kumlieni. "With such a large amount of carrion there is little desire to flee being shown by the birds and at times it was hard to tell who was drooling the most the feasting gulls or the throng of birders atop of the adjoining cliff."

Report on Daf's Orkney Birding on facebook
Orkney Birds
Blubber image by Lorna Whittle
Blubber image by Lorna Whittle
A phalange bone out of a flipper from the cetacean
by Orkney Birding

on  facebook

A rare American immigrant Kumlien's Gull, Larus glaucoides kumlieni, was photographed in Galway Harbour on the west coast of Ireland. 

The bird on the left is a common Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Picture Report on the Irish Birds in Flight on flickr

Photograph by Stephen Lawlor

Kumlien's Gull ID Notes
Photograph by Stephen Lawlor

13 January 2012
A a pod of about a dozen Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus, was spotted by fisherman Rodger Clarke off Abercastle, about ten miles south of Strumble Head, SW Wales. 

The Cardigan lifeboat responding to call to five miles north of Poppit was surrounded by a large pod of over a hundred Common Dolphins, Delphinus delphis, in Cardigan Bay, Wales, on its return.

Report by Paul Newman on Razorbill RIB Charter on facebook
BMLSS Cetaceans
Snow Bunting (Photograph by Andy Horton) January 2012
Two small Snow Buntings, Plectrophenax nivalis, were well camouflaged amongst the pebbles on Shoreham Beach, Sussex, feeding on seed provided for them and attracting a handful of birdwatchers with telephoto lens. Snow Buntings are a very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to the Adur area. These birds were first reported on 27 November 2011 and were still around on 17 January 2012
Adur Nature Notes (January 2012)

10 January 2012

A three metre long shark was spotted cruising the shallow seas off Exmouth in south Devon.

Report and Video by Stephen Gale
The shark seen off Exmouth is not a Blue Shark, Prionace glauca, but a Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus.. BMLSS Shark News

9 January 2012
A juvenile 26.4 cm long Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was discovered alive on the rocks at along Widemouth Bay on the north coast of Cornwall. This young ocean traveller was likely to have been washed in by the recent gales. Reports are rare in all months of the year, but especially so in the first months of the year when the sea is too cold for their survival around the British Isles. 

UK Turtle Code
BMLSS Turtles
MCS Turtle Report Forms

8 January 2012
Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, are a regular sight around the Shetland Islands, feeding on a variety of prey including seals. A pod of four Killer Whales kept a crowd of wildlife watchers entranced for hours on a still afternoon,
An adult female led one immature whale and two even younger whales from the south west tip of Shetland at West Voe round to the east of the islands, swimming up to Sound of Mousa where they were last seen in the afternoon as it got dark. Shetland Wildlife tour operator Hugh Harrop said "the most exciting part of the experience was observing the two youngest whales catching small birds, an unusual but not unheard of spectacle. We witnessed the two young ones turning on a sixpence, diving and slapping their tails and watched a Long tailed Duck (or 'Calloo' ), Clangula hyemalis, come to a bitter end." 

Shetland Killer Whale Images on facebook
Killer Whales around Scotland

6 January 2012
An Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides, was photographed on Shoreham Beach, on the seaward side of the west arm of the harbour from late morning to 1.15 pm. The Iceland Gull is a very scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to Sussex. 

Native Sussex (Mick Davis) Birding Blog

4 January 2012
A two metre long Blue Shark, Prionace glauca, was washed up alive on to the beach at West Bay, Dorset, and hauled back into the water by Jeannette Longley, but it was found dead on the shore at Burton Bradstock shortly afterwards.

BMLSS Sharks

3 January 2012
A young Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was discovered on the shore at Tresilian Bay, near Llantwit Major, on the south Wales coast. This was the second of these young turtles discovered dead after the gales since Christmas 2011. These endangered turtles breed on the coasts of Mexico and are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico and were thought to have blown across the Atlantic Ocean. The turtles are likely to have perished in the cold seas. 
Earlier Report

BMLSS Turtles
MCS Turtle Report Forms

British Marine Life News 2011


Cornish Marine Life Records 2009
BMLSS Oil Disasters page


The Marine Wildlife of the NE Atlantic Forum


Nature Notes Webring

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