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

October - December 2015

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30 December 2015
Another Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, was washed ashore dead on Chesil Beach in Dorset, west of West Bexington.

BMLSS Turtles

29 December 2015

Ammonites from Charmouth 
Photographs by Doug Chalk

A mudslide on Charmouth Beach, Dorset, attracted fossil hunters underneath the unstable cliff for ammonites etc. on a pleasant December day, turning to rain with the cliff battered by waves and Near Gale Force (Force 6 gusting to Gale Force 8) winds. 
Geology of East Charmouth

Late November - December 2015
Debris washed across the Atlantic Oceans housed pelagic visitors rarely, if ever, recorded in British seas. The finds included Florida Rock Shells, Stramonita floridana, found by Steve Trewhella living on a Goose Barnacle covered long line buoy found at Chapmans Pool, Dorset; over fifty tiny Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus. amongst the wrecks; miniature amphipods Caprella andreae; and a very special find of the tubes of the tiny Thimble Jellyfish Linuche unguiculata, by Steve Trewhella on Chesil Beach, and by David Fenwick Snr in Cornwall on flotsam. 

Cerithium litteratum
Stramonita floridana
Linuche unguiculata

Also, three 60 mm long native sipunculans Phascolosoma (Phascolosoma) granulatum were found inside a buoy with seven Columbus Crabs washed ashore on Cornwall. In November another vagrant washed in from America was the Pretty Jewel BoxChama florida. Tracey Williams found a Scotty bait pot on a beach near Newquay, Cornwall, which contained ten attractive shells of Cerithium litteratum, a Caribbean gastropod mollusc never seen before on British mainland shores. The snails would have entered the pot as larvae, living on algae growing on the inside. David Fenwick Snr also discovered the bivalve mollusc shells of the Crested Oyster Ostrea equestris, Isognomon bicolor and Isognomon radiatus all attached to the same bucket washed ashore at Marazion, south Cornwall.

List of trans-Atlantic rafting species (Aphotomarine)
BMLSS Strandlining/Beachcombing

November - December 2015

Thousands of clumps of Goose Barnacles, Lepas anatifera, attached to floating objects have been washed ashore all along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent. Those strandings occur very year, but it seems that more than the usual number were discovered this winter. Diligent beachcombers have discovered the tiny Columbus Crabs, Planes minutus. amongst the wrecks, as well as few of the other pelagic Goose Barnacles like Lepas anserifera.
Stalked Barnacles on Aphotomarine (by Dave Fenwick)
Barnacles at Aphotomarine

Thousands of By-the-wind Sailors, Velella velella, were washed ashore on various beaches in the south and west.

23 December 2015
A Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was rescued at Chapmans Pool, Dorset.

Two other Loggerhead Turtles were washed ashore dead on the Welsh coast.
BMLSS Loggerhead Turtle Reports

12 December 2015
A Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, washed ashore at Aberystwyth was still alive and is now in rehabilitation. 

These endangered turtles breed on the coasts of Mexico and are usually found in the Gulf of Mexico and was thought to have blown across the Atlantic Ocean. The turtle is likely to have suffered in the cold seas and would have succumbed if they had not been rescued.
BMLSS Turtles

8 December 2015
An astonishing discovery of the remains of a significant complex of Bronze Age buildings were revealed on a kilometre stretch of beach at Tres Ness on the island of Sanday in the Orkney Islands. The four thousand year old remains of 14 houses and stone tools, including knives, were uncovered by wind and sea that moved the sand dunes which had hidden them for over three millennia. 
According to Professor Jane Downes, the scale of the Sanday discoveries is unparalleled in Orkney. ""This must be one of the biggest complexes of Bronze Age settlement in the Scottish isles, rivalling the spreads of hut circles in other parts of mainland Scotland."  NB: The stones have in part been uncovered before but not identified as anything exceptional.

7 December 2015
A Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas,  was found dead stranded at Porthmadog in Gwynedd, Wales. The approximately 25 cm long turtle was thought to have possibly initially stranded alive, given its very fresh condition. The body of the turtle was recovered from the beach by Gwynedd Maritime Services and then taken to RSPCA Colwyn Bay for storage prior to pickup and transport for post-mortem examination by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme UK  (CSIP). This is only the ninth record of this inhabitant of tropical seas (including the Atlantic coast of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea) found in the sea or on the shore around the British Isles.

Previous Record

6 December 2015
A Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was washed ashore alive but in a moribund condition on the south-west Scotland shore in Ayrshire. It was moved to Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary (SSLS) in Oban, Argyll and Bute, for recovery and rehabilitation at but died of hypothermia on 9 December 2015. The problem is the seas around the British Isles are too cold for this tropical turtle.

BMLSS Turtles

27 November 2015

Goose Barnacles on Space Rocket
Photograph by Tresco Boatman

A large part of a space rocket floated across the Atlantic Ocean from Florida and acquired a large colony of Goose Barnacles on its one year journey. It eventually beached on Tresco, Isles of Scilly, with the assistance of local fishermen..

BMLSS Barnacles
BMLSS Strandline

26 November 2015

Stranded Juvenile Fin Whale
Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP)

A 10 metres long juvenile Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, was washed ashore dead at Cleethorpes Beach, Lincolnshire. The over night tide washed the body of the huge whale off the beach and back into the Humber estuary

A long distant vagrant bird, a Pacific Diver, Gavia pacifica, turned up again at Marazion, Cornwall, where it had been seen in previous years. This bird is a North American bird whereas the similar Black throated Diver, Gavia arctica, is the one found in eastern Eurasia. 
Recent Reports 2015

Loon ID
Pacific Diver 2009

25 November 2015

Mauve Stingers at Perranporth
Photographs by David Fenwick Snr

Ten thousands of very small (about 20 mm diameter) Mauve Stingers, Pelagia noctiluca were washed ashore on Cornish beaches, notably at Perranporth and Porthtowan and other locations on the exposed north coast of Cornwall. This small jellyfish has a reputation a a stinger.

Report by David Fenwick Snr & others on NE Atlantic Cnidaria  facebook
BMLSS Jellyfish

November 2015

Photograph by Douglas Herdson

An adult Comber, Serranus cabrilla, of 440 g was caught by a beam trawler south of Start Point, Devon. A southern species, a small member of the grouper (Serranidae) family, turns up from time to time in southern Britain.

Previous Report

24 October 2015

Anemonactis mazeli
Photograph by Peter Bardsley

The small deep water sea anemone Anemonactis mazeli was discovered and photographed for the first time by Peter Bardsley in shallow water (15 metres) at two sites in Loch Duich, south Skye, Scotland. It was only rarely recorded in the distant past and as a burrowing anemone in mud it is hard to find.

MarLIN Species Record

18 October 2015
A two metre long Porbeagle Shark, Lamna nasus, was the unfortunate victim of a net and was washed ashore dead on Chesil Beach. The body of the shark was returned to sea, as commercial fishermen in the EU are prohibited from landing Porbeagle Sharks.

BMLSS Porbeagle Shark
Underwater Explorers: Chesil Beach Project

14 October 2015
A huge 12 metres long whale washed ashore dead in a smelly condition at Botany Bay, near Margate, Kent, was identified as a  juvenile female Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus

BMLSS Beachcombing
Beachcombing on facebook

4 October 2015
Several pods of Risso's Dolphins, Grampus griseus, were observed off the coast of Anglesey, north Wales, from the vantage points overlooking Bull Bay and from nearby Point Lynas. A sea trip by Dr Peter Evans discovered an unprecedented fifty plus of these dolphins, generally swimming westwards. Their main diet is squid and these dolphins are usually seen in small groups. 

BMLSS Cetacea
BMLSS Whales & Dolphins in British Seas

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