Sowerby's beaked whale washed up
Monday 7 December 2009, 10:34
Look away now if you're squeamish - another dead whale I'm afraid but a pretty rare find for South Wales nevertheless.
They tend to live in deep water in the North Sea area between the UK and Norway although they do crop up elsewhere from time to time. One was once discovered off Florida but is thought to have lost its way.
Also known as the North Sea beaked whale - this rarely seen squid
hunter was first discovered in Moray Firth in Scotland. It was named
four years later by English artist - John Sowerby hence its name.
They're pretty reclusive creatures though - rarely seen, keeping well away from ships and as such, little is known about them.
This one was washed up at Sker beach, near Porthcawl in late summer.
Images by Harvey James & Gemma Coombes:
A friend of mine had taken some photos of it whilst walking 'wilmot' the dog and e-mailed them in describing it as 'a dead dolphin'.
And to the untrained eye that's pretty much what it resembles, especially in an advanced state of decomposition!
I picked up the 'Seaside News' this morning (our local free news magazine in Porthcawl) and was surprised to see the creature described as a Sowerby's beaked whale!
So I thought I'd better dig out the photos for you. I have to say this is one species I'd not come across before.
You can read more on this story in the Whales in Wales blog
and see a photo of one washed up which was in much better condition than this one.
So there we have it - another species of whale washed up in Wales this year. That's the third or fourth one I've covered in this blog in recent months but I'm sure there have been plenty more.Gull
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