NEWS: WINTER 2004
former Royal Navy frigate has been sunk off Cornwall to create the UK's
first artificial diving reef. Thousands of people watched from Whitsand
Bay near Plymouth as HMS
Scylla was scuttled at 3:28
explosives were detonated by 12-year-old Daniel
Green, from Ivybridge, Devon, accompanied
by environmentalist David Bellamy.
position of the Scylla Artificial Reef is 50º 19.64 ´N
004º 15.20´W with the bow facing south-west, about 800 metres
from the wreck of the James Eagan Layne. It is on the bottom at 20
metres below Chart Datum and listing 20º
to starboard. The sea bottom is dark granule
diving team at the National
Marine Aquarium were the first civilian divers to ever dive on the
unique Scylla reef, after the Royal Navy divers had been down to inspect
the sunken warship.
first fish to arrive was a Ballan Wrasse,
cristata, was discovered on
St. Ives beach, Cornwall, by British
Divers Marine Life Rescue. The Hooded
Seal is an Arctic species and even discoveries
off the coast of Scotland, including the Orkney and Shetland Isles are
rare. It moults around Greenland and the Denmark Strait (between Iceland
Divers Marine Life Rescue News Page (with the Full Report)
Seal 2001 (SW Wales)
12 metre long Sperm Whale, Physeter
catodon, was washed up still alive on
a sand bank at Sutton
Bridge in The Wash, on the east coast of England, and first spotted
by a local resident at 10:00 am on 21 March
2004. Unfortunately the distressed whale was
stuck on the sandbank and the rescuers are powerless to assist the 15 tonne
animal back into deeper water. Efforts were made to help it stay alive
and to hope it will have the strength and luck with the tides to free itself.
The prognosis is poor for any chance of survival.
the whale died on the second day.
Divers Marine Life Rescue News Page
head of the cetacean skeleton (see
below) has now been discovered.
the length of the beak indicates a Harbour
Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena.
photograph reached Kent
& Medway Biological Records Centre via the Environment Agency.
An angler (A.K. Bushell)
caught and photographed a Chinese Mitten
Crab, Eriocheir sinensis, (pic)
from Gillingham Pier, Kent. This crab is a
non-native species that burrows into river and coastal banks. As this individual
was a typical size of approx. 28 cm across, you can see that burrowing
can help cause severe bank erosion. Consequently, the Environment Agency
would like to know of any records of this species to monitor the current
spread of this species.
& Medway Biological Records Centre Monthly Records 2004
headless skeleton of a 120 cm long cetacean is
washed up on the shore at Low Newton,
in Northumberland, north-east England.
head is missing and the bit where the head should be probably tucks underneath
the skeleton. It is most likely a Harbour
Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, and these
are probable too commonly washed up to be newsworthy, but rarely is anything
like a complete skeleton photographed.
The image on the far right shows the bone structure of a cetacean (the
method of swimming can be ascertained from these remains).
large male Thresher Shark,
vulpinus, was landed to Plymouth Fish Market. It had been caught by
midwater pair trawlers fishing for Bass. It weighed
258 kg and was 416 cm in total length (207 cm precaudal length).
unusual high numbers of Fulmars, Fulmarus
glacialis, were found dead on the
beaches in Northern France and Belgium. Since the end of last week, probably
more than 200 have already been picked up dead.
seems to be the first report of mass fatalities and unusually high numbers
of Fulmars in
the North Sea, with other reports from Norfolk and even stray birds inland.
Notes (More Information)
March 2004, 59
were found on a three mile section between Wells and Holkham,
north Norfolk, including 11 'blue
phase' birds. Other dead sea birds of 13 different species were also
discovered, plus 30 live Snow Buntings,
Head, Yorkshire, (there had been 46 the previous day). This is the
highest ever count at Flamborough.
Fulmar Mass Mortalities 2003
wreck appears not to be triggered by instantaneous events in terms of food-shortage,
pollution incidents, unfavourable weather or disease. The problems of the
birds date back to at least October last year,
2003, or probably earlier.
Report by J.A. van Franeker
adult male Sperm
Whale, Physeter catodon,
measuring nearly 15 metres in length was found stranded on the Oostduinkerke
beach in Belgium. Judging by its advanced state of decomposition the large
whale, the twenty-first to have been discovered on Belgium beaches since
1403, had been dead for several months before it washed up on the beach.
Dermochelys coriacea, was
spotted five miles south of Mevagissey off the south coast of Cornwall.
This is an unusually early sighting. They normally start appearing in UK
waters in early summer.
resident Jo Leach
reported the turtle after spotting it while out on her uncle's crab potting
uncle was using his binoculars to look out for the Fin
Whales that had been reported over the weekend,
when he saw something that he thought looked like a rock breaking the surface”,
said Jo Leach, “We approached the object and cut the engines, and when
we were about five metres away we could see it was a Leatherback
Turtle. It gazed at us for a few minutes and
then slowly swam off, as if it had had enough of looking at us!”
seal was spotted in the River Thames, London, by Richmond Bridge. It was
about 120 cm in length. It was most likely a Common
Seal, Phoca vitulina.
Whales, Balaenoptera physalis, and
a large pod of Common Dolphins,
delphis, were spotted from the Orca Seafaris
boat approximately 18 miles off the Roseland
Whale, Balaenoptera physalis,
was found washed ashore on the island of Coll, the second found beached
on a Hebridean island in recent weeks. The 17 metres long carcass was found
by an islander. This whale was in a fresh condition.
earlier whale washed up on Mull was a beaked
whale of a species not known at the time
pod of Risso’s Dolphins,
griseus, and then the even larger fin cleaved through the water, the
black and white flanks revealing two Killer
Whales, Orcinus orca, were spotted
by a large groups birdwatchers off Fishguard, south-west wales. These large
were a mile out to sea and seen through the birdwatchers scopes.
Sightings off Wales
of dolphins were observed in the sea off Widewater
Lagoon, Lancing, Sussex at 2:00 pm
in the afternoon. This was an unusual event off the Sussex coast and most
occasional observations have been in the summer months. Pods of dolphins
have been seen off Selsey Bill, West Sussex in the last few days. "Skein"
is the term used by the observer and I have not known this collective noun
used before for cetaceans.
Report by Brian Street (Shoreham)
Valley Nature Notes (January 2004)
Sea off Sussex
12 metres long Sperm
Whale, Physeter catodon, was washed
up dead at Thornham Norfolk.
by Richard Saunders
spotters willing to brave the gale force winds, the whale could be seen
by transversing the muddy trail from Holme NWT and following the sea bank
to the beach.
Marine Natural History Society web pages are launched. Please click
on the logo to access their pages.
Conservation Society UK
Turtle Code is now online at http://www.euroturtle.org/turtlecode/
Beaked Whale, Ziphius cavirostris,
was washed up dead west of Torloisk on the north west coast of Mull,
Beaked Whale is a deep water species that
feeds on squid and is rarely seen alive or dead
in Hebridean seas.
pretty bivalve mollusc Moerella donacina
collected by the Kent Shoresearch group at Sandwich Bay. This is the first
known record of the mollusc from this area. The record was submitted by
& Medway Biological Records Centre Monthly Records 2004
bird watching around Poole Harbour our search for grebes and divers, we
were halted by the appearance of at least ten Bottle-nosed
Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, off
Studland, Poole Bay, Dorset just before 11:00
am. The pod were very active with complete
breaching by one animal noted on two occasions and lots of tail slapping
throughout the observation. They were just at the end of the main shipping
channel off Pilots Point.
Trawling Threat to the Superpod (News Report)
pod of about 500 - 750 dolphins
reported a half mile off Looe, Cornwall, by Polperro trawler "Girl
Jane". The majority were probably Common
- 750 Common Dolphins,
delphis, were seen in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall,
11.30 am & 12.00 pm, heading towards the
Lizard. The dolphins were seen made from the
Orca-Seafaris boat by Keith Leeves, Suzi Gilpin, Caroline Curtis, Gary
Hawkins, Dan, Phil & Dave Jarvis & others.
Report by Dave Jarvis on the Cornish
Wildlife Mailing List
whale of over 30 tonnes is washed up dead
on the sandy shore of the bay of Audierne, between Tronoën and the
Torch, near Plomeur near Quimper, southern Brittany, France. Samples have
been taken by Oceanopolis, Brest (Public
Aquarium) who identified the species as a Fin
physalis, that had recently died and measured 19.5 metres