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Whales sighted off Norfolk coast

PUBLISHED: 16:06 10 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:55 16 September 2010

Whale watchers have once again identified at least two northern bottlenose whales off Norfolk, says the marine research charity Sea Watch.

The charity, which is in the middle of its annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch which runs until August 15, first received reports the whales had been spotted from a boat, heading south west off the Wash on August 1.

Whale watchers have once again identified at least two northern bottlenose whales off Norfolk, says the marine research charity Sea Watch.

The charity, which is in the middle of its annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch which runs until August 15, first received reports the whales had been spotted from a boat, heading south west off the Wash on August 1.

They were then seen again on Thursday and yesterday morning.

Sea Watch Sightings Officer Gemma Veneruso said: “The latest sighting was much further inshore than the previous ones. They were between two sandbanks in the south of the Wash.

“These animals are normally found in deep waters in the North Atlantic. It is thought that some lose their way during the migration from the Norwegian Sea past the Northern Isles to the North Atlantic which is why we sometimes see these animals off the British coast - the whale that swam up the River Thames in 2006 was a northern bottlenose dolphin.

“We have some concerns about them stranding so would urge anyone who spots them to let us know “

During National Whale and Dolphin Watch, Sea Watch asks members of the public to send in their sightings of whales, dolphins or porpoises or to take part in a manned watch.

Details of how to take part in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch from land and sea are on the charity's website www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk along with details of how to send in pictures as part of the charity's Photo a fin ID campaign.

The 13 species most often seen in UK waters are: minke whale, fin whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, northern bottlenose whale, long-finned pilot whale, killer whale (orca), Risso's dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise.

Northern bottlenose whale facts:

Length:

3.6m/11.9ft (newborn); 6.9 - 8.7m/22.8 - 28.7ft (adult female), 7.5 - 9.8m/24.7 - 32.3ft (adult male).

Head and beak:

The Northern Bottlenose Whale has a bulbous forehead (flatter in old males) and a short dolphin-like beak.

Fin and markings:

Erect, hooked fin, two-thirds along back; the Northern bottlenose whale body is chocolate brown to greenish brown above, lighter on flanks, lightening to buff or cream on head with age.

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