Norfolk Cetaceans – 16th July 2017

I had the opportunity of examining the cadaver of the cetacean on Titchwell beach the day before yesterday. It does in fact appear to be a 4.7m long female SOWERBY’S BEAKED WHALE. This is around the ninth record for Norfolk. Although conclusive ID is difficult with female beaked whales when they are in the best of condition let alone in an advanced state of decay I am 99% sure of the identification. However just to be sure a sample was taken, under licence, for possible DNA analysis. What was possibly the same animal was seen and photographed by a fisherman (John Thompson) floating about 20 miles off Burnham Overy around the 6th July before it made landfall at Titchwell (reported by Baz Scampion). Looking at the lesions on the rear dorsal area the animal appeared to have suffered trauma consistent with a ship strike.

Many thanks to Chris Booth, Paul Eele and the others in the Titchwell RSPB team for their help.