a noticeable absence of Minke Whales,
acutorostrata, in the outer southern Moray
Firth (NE Scotland) in 2004, we are pleased to report that the animals
have returned to their usual feeding haunts once again in 2005. At least
two were definitely observed, and there were certainly more in poor weather
group of a dozen Sperm Whales, Physeter
catodon, including a calf, were spotted
and Noss in the Shetland Isles (island
off the east mainland). From a vantage point overlooking Noss Sound, we
were rewarded by the sight of a group of Sperm Whales gently drifting eastwards
at a distance of about two miles. Visibility was fairly good and we could
determine the distinctive outline and classic blow through the scope, though
they were a long way out when viewed through binoculars. Despite the variety
of whales and dolphins around the Shetland Isles, Sperm Whales are unusual
in the relatively shallow water for these huge sea mammals. A group is
very rare and the calf may be the first record for the Shetlands.
(Shetland Sea Mammal Group)
Cetacea (Whales & Dolphins)
Cetacean News Index 2005
group of seven Leatherback Turtles,
coriacea, were spotted around the Isles of Scilly , south-west of Cornwall.
porcus, was discovered in a fishing
catch caught off Cornwall and brought into Plymouth. This venomous fish
usually lives in the Mediterranean. This appears to be only the second
UK record of the rarer of the two venomous Scorpaena
from European warmer seas.
Report in 1998
landed at Plymouth dockside was a 118 cm (TL) female Bluntnosed
Six-gilled Shark, Hexanchus griseus,
caught on longline due west of Cornwall (50°N 8°W). This
is a deep water predatory shark species.
Information on Six-Gilled Sharks (by Len Nevell)
am GMT 7:36 am BST
is with great sadness we have to report of the passing away of Alwyne
Wheeler who for many years was the leading fish expert in the United
Kingdom. He died aged 76, after a long illness.
was a highly acclaimed ichthyologist who worked, until his retirement,
at the Natural History Museum
in London where he has special responsibility for European Fishes, but
even then his interest and reputation was such that he continued on an
informal basis for many more years.
was recognised as the definitive authority on fish species and was the
author of many comprehensive books and his classic book “Key
to the Fishes of Northern Europe” became a bible for all those
who have an interest in fish species within Northern Europe and beyond.
Head (the most northerly part of mainland Scotland) whilst watching
the seabirds near the lighthouse we saw at least three Minke
Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata,
feeding close in amongst the birds.
2005. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
World Oceans Day
Green, New Shoreham
the overcast day and the near gales that battered the marquee, Adur
Oceans Day 2005 was a success with live
animal displays of lobsters,
aquarium displays of sandy shore and rocky shore fauna, the simulated rock
pool, marine life photographs (all by the British
Marine Life Study Society), the dolphin exhibit (Sea
Watch Foundation and helpers), the Sussex Coastal Watch Project (Dee
Christensen), strandline touch tables (West
Sussex County Council Rural Strategy Unit), vegetated shingle of Shoreham
Beach and Widewater Lagoon (Dave and Marion
Wood) and the table of the Sussex
Ornithological Society (Audrey Wende,
with the photograph of the Gull-billed Tern
in company of a Black-headed Gull,
taken by Stanley Allen
of the Shoreham & District Ornithological
attendance was greater than last year as well and there was a continual
stream of visitors for six hours.
World Oceans Day 2005 Picture Portfolio (by Ray Hamblett)
Marine Life Study Society: Len Nevell
helped by Marc Abraham (Priory
Treatment Service, PETS), Andy Horton, Peter
Talbot-Elsden, Ray, Jan and Katherine Hamblett
and Hannah Luff.
Watch Foundation: Steve
Savage and his daughter Amber, with helpers
including Marc Baldwin
Rural Strategy Unit: John Knight and Kathy
assistance: Natalie Brahma-Pearl (Adur
District Council and Adur Festival),
Neil Mitchell (WSCC Rural Strategy Unit), David Steadman (Shoreham Town
swam on to the beach at Bembridge on the lsle of Wight. Although the dolphin
did not show any signs of injury attempts to rescue it were in vain.
group of seven Bottle-nosed Dolphins,
truncatus, attack a smaller group of Harbour
Porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, near
Chanonary Point in the Inner Moray Firth, NE Scotland, killing one of the
unfortunate porpoises and tossing its dead body in the air.
May - 2 June 2005
the the low spring tide on the Adur
estuary running through Shoreham-by-Sea
in West Sussex, the Gull-billed Tern
could be easily overlooked or mistaken for a gull as it waddled along the
tideline and occasionally on to the mud. With its black head and black
legs it had to be distinguished from a Black-headed
Gull within a few metres of the tern.
At first, the Gull-billed Tern was
in the company of a Little Egret
and it seemed to be pecking at minute food particles, but after a few minutes
it caught a ragworm which tangled around its beak before swallowing it.
On another occasion, the worm was taken to the water and rinsed before
being gulped down. It paused its quest for food to preen at least once.
Tern is an annual vagrant to southern England.
Its natural distribution is mostly a bird of southern Europe including
coastal wetlands such as the Ebro Delta and Coto Donana (Spain) and a small
population in France.
bird was first seen over the brackish Widewater
Lagoon, Lancing, on 21 May 2005.
Nature Notes (May 2005)
Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, of
the season is reported by a fisherman half a mile north of Sennen
Cove, Cornwall (near Land's End).
April 2005 to 3 May 2005
Bearded Seal, Erignathus
barbatus, was seen at Easter
Quarff (north of Cunningsburgh), Mainland, Shetland Isles.
by John Coutts
Sea Mammal Sightings and Photograph
Bearded Seals are a non-migratory Arctic species that feed on molluscs
including clams. There has now been at least a dozen records from the Shetland
Isles and one record of this seal off Ireland and one off Hartlepool in
Bearded Seal page
ten metres long Sperm Whale, Physeter
catodon, drifted ashore in Gearraidh,
Isle of Skye. It was seen earlier alive, but it was dead when it was washed
am a stranded Blainville's
Beaked Whale, Mesoplodon densirostris,
was discovered and subsequently identified at Ameland, part of the Dutch
Wadden Islands by Chris Smeenk and colleagues.
The animal was a female 435 cm long and she turned out to be pregnant,
a 118 cm foetus was retrieved from the uterus. This record represents the
first for the North Sea and only the 8th record for Europe.