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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11 June 2016 
Adur World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Events occurred all around the world on and around this day.

Adur was one of the UK leaders in presenting the seventeenth environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea. The British Marine Life Study Society presented the usual exhibition of the seashore aquarium and the lobsters and crabs. The Friends of Shoreham Beach (FOSB) took an active role with their display of the wonders of Shoreham Beach. Wildlife writer Steve Savage presented the Man and the Sea exhibition with a video microscope. Exhibitors were available to find the time to answer questions about marine life. World of Widewater exhibited a display and information about the brackish water lagoon and local nature reserve.
Other participants included Southwick Camera Club with an exhibition of seascapes and marine life.

World Oceans Day on facebook
Adur World Oceans Day on facebook
United Nations: World Oceans Day


1 December 2016

Pygmy Sperm Whale
Photographs by Colin Bird

A rare Pygmy Sperm Whale, Kogia breviceps, was washed ashore on a Caithness beach at Thurso East, north Scotland, originally discovered by Cram Labwons and and recovered by Colin Bird and Jamie Dyer. Another rare cetacean, a Sowersby's Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon bidens, was discovered washed ashore dead on Dunnet Beach

This is an extremely unusual stranding of a deep sea Pygmy Sperm Whale. This species is much commoner in the southern hemisphere. The presence of a population west of the Bay of Biscay is possible. This whale is classified as a Vagrant in the British Cetacean List.
Previous Report 2002
BMLSS Cetacea

28 November 2016
The adult Olive Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea, was recovering at Anglesey Sea Zoo and is now feeding on oily Mackerel which are easy to digest. This was confirmed as the very first Olive Ridley Turtle recorded in British seas. 

12 November 2016
All the way from tropical seas, a large olive green adult Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys, was discovered in a moribund condition but still alive, on the sandy shore of the Menai Strait, at Tan-y-Foel very close to Anglesey Sea Zoo, north-west Wales. Undoubtably suffering in the cool waters off north Wales, the turtle was warmed up and nursed by local vet and rehabilitated at Anglesey Sea Zoo. (At the time of writing it is not sure if the turtle was heathy enough to recover.)
""This individual is much larger than any other Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, documented as stranding in the UK, previously we have always recorded juveniles here," said marine expert Rod Penrose, from the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme."

BMLSS Turtles

17 September 2016

For the tenth time this year  the famous Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, named 'John Coe" was spotted by local fishermen, Gordon Mackinnon and Ritchie Simpson, off Canna and to the west of Skye, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Interestingly, all other confirmed reports of John Coe in 2016 have been of him alone, whereas Gordonís photos clearly show him with another male.
The West Coast Community of Killer Whales consists of four males and four females, and they are not known to interact with any other Orca populations in the north-east Atlantic.

15 September 2016 
A Blue Runner, Caranx chrysos, was caught on road and line on the boat "Emma Kate" fishing for Mackerel out of Padstow, Cornwall. This is a southern species of fish rarely (less than once a year) caught in British seas. This shoaling fish is unusual north of Portugal. 

Blue Runner
Photograph by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO)

Another Blue Runner was landed at Brixham, south Devon, by Dave Brown from his small boat "Thankful". 

BMLSS Report 2001
Another Atlantic Blue Marlin, Makaira nigricans,was washed ashore dead, this time at Porthcurno Bay, south coast of Cornwall.  Previous Report 2016

14 September 2016

A Silver Dory (=Sailfin Dory), Zenopsis conchifer, was landed at Cawsand, Cornwall. This is a deepwater fish found in more southern seas are only rarely accidentally caught around the British Isles and even more rarely reported. BMLSS Sailfin Dory

4 September 2016

A most astonishing discovery of a tropical sea bird called the Red-footed Booby, Sula sula,was found on St. Leonards Beach, East Sussex. Gail Cohen found the underweight bird alive and the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called to rehabilitate the lost bird to RSPCA Mallydams Wood at Hastings.

This bird has not been seen in Britain before and it is still a mystery of how the bird arrived from its normal tropical home.

Photograph by John Swancott3 September 2016
An early morning walk on a windy Freshwater East Beach, Pembrokeshire, SW Wales, produced a surprise discovery of a dead Atlantic Blue Marlin, Makaira nigricans, in water shallow enough for a collie dog to try and haul the large fish inshore. Discoverers John and Helen Swancott estimated the fish to be 2.4 metres long. This extraordinary find was the first record for the UK. 

BMLSS Swordfish & Marlins

August 2016
A huge 7.65kg (17 lbEuropean Lobster, Homarus gammarus  (= H. vulgaris), was captured by free diver Joe Pike off Lannacombe Beach, south Devon. It was captured and taken to the National Aquarium at Plymouth for further captive study. It is the second largest European Lobster on record as a confirmed weight although from the size and weights of remains, even larger Lobsters could be extant.

July 2016

Killer Whales Video Report by Craig Nisbet
on Shetland Orca Sightings  facebook

Fora majestic month the residents of the Shetland Isles enjoyed views of several (maybe four) pods of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, roaming up and down the rocky coasts of the archipelago, mainly seen from the east shores of Mainland, but nowhere were they predictable, seen coming close inshore under the cliffs and seen feeding on shoals of  of fish, ducks, seals and a Porpoise. One pod was over 20 strong.

Killer Whales near Sandwick, Shetland
Photograph by Bev Redfern

More Images on Shetland Orca Sightings

10 July 2016

Young Stranded FemaleSperm Whale
Photograph by Nicholas Pugliese

A young Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore alive at the Penhale end of Perranporth beach, north Cornwall. At 13 metres long,  this female youngster was lying on its side when discovered on the falling afternoon spring tide and because she was out of the water for so long she will have internal injuries and, even if the rescuers could refloat the stricken whale, it would be unlikely she would survive. The whale stopped breathing and died on the sandy beach in the afternoon. 

"Globally, segregation exists between male and female sperm whales, including in North Atlantic populations, with the matriarchal pods containing females normally resident in temperate to tropical waters much further south of the British Isles, whereas males generally travel in more temperate waters. We have historically only ever had juvenile/subadult male sperm whale strandings in the UK and this is the first confirmed female sperm whale to be recorded stranded in the UK, since routine collection of strandings data by the Natural History Museum began in 1913, illustrating the unusual nature of this stranding event. This was also only the sixth sperm whale to be recorded stranded in Cornwall in this same 100+ year period." (BDMLR)

BMLSS Cetacea: Index to Reports

9 July 2016

Two Killer Whales, north Minch, Shetland Isles
heading south past the Bard towards Mousa
Photographs by Ryan Leith

Northern Isles Community that moves between Iceland and Scotland to hunt and raise young.

27 June 2016

Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, named 'John Coe
off the coast at the Blasket Islands in County Kerry
Photographs by Richard Creagh Photography

'Hebridean Community' of Killer Whales (or Western Community): a community living of the western seas of Ireland and Scotland

The famous Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, named 'John Coe" was spotted back off the extreme south-west coast of Ireland, seen by Nick Massett off Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry. This whale is quite easily recognised by the large notch on the base of the trailing edge of his dorsal fin, a feature which makes him unique and easily recognisable. John Coe is perhaps one of the best known Killer Whales in the seas around the British Isles, having been first photographed by Dr. Peter Evans, Sea Watch Foundation, 33 years ago, off the Scottish Hebrides back in 1983. He was of adult age even back then, and as with many members of this ageing remnant sub-pod of eight adults, he is old by any standards. Today there are grave concerns for the future survival of this pod whose territory extends into Irish waters. One major concern is that it is  many years since there has been any new additions to this group, and zero recruitment means that this group will ultimately die off; something which would be a great loss to our marine biodiversity.

BMLSS Cetacea: Index to Reports

15 May 2016

A most unexpected sighting of a a juvenile Bowhead Whale, Balaena mysticetus, occurred in shallow waters at Long Rock Beach, near Penzance, Mount's Bay, Cornwall. It is a species of right whale usually only found in icy Arctic seas and there has only been one previous report last year. This juvenile whale was about 7 metres long, but they can grow up to 18 metres, and after the Blue Whale they are heaviest animals (up to 90 tonnes) on the planet, with the longest baleen plates and the largest mouth.  The whale was first spotted by regular marine mammal observer and medic, Dave Jarvis of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), and first recognised by whale researcher Marijke De Boer on a Marine Discovery Penzance boat. A brief video footage shows the double blow of this whale species which together with its distinctive shape confirms its identity. The head is distinctive and this whale lacks a dorsal fin

28 April 2016

A spectacular discovery of the skull and antlers of Red Deer were recovered from the 3500 year old petrified fossil forest revealed on the low spring tides on the shore at Borth, Ceredigion, on the Cardigan Bay west coast of Wales. Researchers from the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, confirmed that the find was preserved at the same time of the forest. 

Submerged Forests of Wales

24 April 2016
A most extraordinary and unexpected discovery of a dead young male Narwhal, Monodonmonoceros, washed up in the River Schelde at Bornem in Antwerp Province, was the first found on mainland European shores for over a century. Only the male Narwhals have the sigle (usually) long ivory tusk.It is a toothed whale almost always discovered in small pods north of the Arctic Circle, so it was 1000 miles off course. Flanders News Report

25 January 2016
A fifth (seventeenth in total) Sperm Whale, Physeter macrocephalus, was discovered washed up dead on the inaccessible coast at at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. 

Expert and observations seem to conclude that the original pod of the 17 Sperm Whales entered the shallower North Sea from deeper  northerly seas and that the complete pod perished in two weeks. 

Click on the map for the full illustrated report by Philip Hoare for the Daily Mail.

New Scientist Report

Once a Sperm Whale or group of Sperm Whales has entered the North Sea and continues due south, the animals will reach progressively shallower waters. The North Sea, and particularly its funnel-shaped southern sector less than 50 metres deep, is totally unsuitable for Sperm Whales. Although they must be able to go without food for quite some time, a prolonged stay in these waters will eventually prove fatal, if the animals do not find their way out in time. 
Historical Records

24 January 2016

Sperm Whales stranded at Skegness
Photographs by Graham G.N. Cummings

Calamitously, the other three Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, in the pod (see below) were found washed ashore dead at Skegness. Two were stranded together on the sandy beach. 

Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP): UK Strandings
Sperm Whales in the Firth of Forth 2013

22 January 2016

Sperm Whale stranded at Hunstanton
Photographs by Bull of the Bog

Four Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, were seen very close inshore under Hunstanton cliffs, Norfolk at night. Three swam back out into The Wash and one a big bull got stranded. It was probably already injured it was bleeding heavily from its tail, as the tide ebbed away so did its life. The following day a team of vets from  Zoological Society of London (ZSL) raced against the tide to carry out a field necropsy and crowds of curious sightseers gathered to view this stranded leviathan

Previous (2011) stranding at Hunstanton

12 January 2016

Five Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, beached on the Dutch Wadden Sea island of Texel all died overnight as expected. The whales were spotted in difficulty close to the shore and rescue efforts continued until midnight, without success.

8 January 2016
Two male Sperm Whales, Physeter macrocephalus, washed ashore dead on the island of Wangerooge in the shallow waters of the German Wadden Sea. The largest whale measured 13 metres and the smaller whale at 12 metres.

Sperm Whales are huge whales that inhabit deep water and are unusual and out of place in the shallow part of the southern North Sea. 

Altogether, the final count of dead Sperm Whales on the Dutch and German coasts was 12. A fishing net was discovered in the stomach of one of the dead whales. 

BMLSS Cetacea

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