Posts Tagged ‘Stranding


A silver lining

For the third time in four days I found myself searching for a dead whale. On the other day of the four we were playing with blow up whales and ‘jumping’ rubber seals training to be marine mammal medics. It would be good and healthy for my soul to spend a little time in the presence of a live cetacean sometime soon – roll on March. More about that another day.

It turns out that after the Minke washed up at Cromer on Friday a Sperm Whale was reported within a mile of Cromer on the Saturday. I couldn’t find it. I found out yesterday this was a hoax. A much more reliable report came in yesterday of another Minke further around the coast at Sea Palling. When I arrived at the site disposal was already being arranged. This was a smaller whale (5.8m) than the Cromer individual, a young female, and had been dead around 3 to 4 days or maybe less,

I guess this individual had wandered inshore of the reef and had become trapped. Dead Minke Whales tend to float upside down and their skin is easily abraded hence the dorsal fin and upper surface damage where it had scraped on sand and rocks. The holes on the underside were natural orifices that had been extended by bird damage.

News of yet another stranding prompted someone to ask me “what’s going on?” It’s not an unreasonable question given that the last officially recorded Minke Whale stranding was 44 years ago and then we get two in four days. It’s sad to see such a glorious animal in such a sorry state but every cloud has a silver lining. If the Herring Shoals offshore were not in such a good state and sightings of whales off the Norfolk Coast were not increasing we wouldn’t have ship strike and stranded Minke Whales as well as Humpbacks offshore. As it always has been, death is a part of life.

2013 11 25 Minke Whale Sea Palling Norfolk_Z5A3674

2013 11 25 Minke Whale Sea Palling Norfolk_Z5A3693


Minke Whale Washes up at Cromer

A dead female sub adult/adult Minke Whale 6.4m long was washed up at Cromer this lunchtime. She has probably been dead one to two weeks. Many thanks to Simon and Bob for the phone calls. This is probably one of the ‘Humpbacks’ reported by fishermen off Cromer. Given the dorsal fin damage and the way the upper jaw seems to be cleanly cut I would suggest this animal suffered a propeller strike; although it is hard to be sure. I took a DNA sample for the natural History Museum as they wont be recovering the corpse for necropsy. If the tide doesn’t take her back first the local authorities will do their stuff and remove her from the beach.

Minke Whale 2

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Aug 2022


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