Thursday, 2 August 2012

Killer whales spotted off Norfolk Coast

Killer whales sightings astound young dog walkers
July 2012. Two young dog walkers on Bacton Beach near Cromer in Norfolk had the surprise of their life when they saw two huge fins circling a smaller one in the seas in front of them.
Toby Beatty, 14, was first to spot the fins and alert his sister Jessica, 15. They were walking along the beach at about 7pm on a gusty evening. From their descriptions of the fins, the backs of the animals and their behaviour, the marine research charity Sea Watch was able to confirm that they had seen killer whales – a species which has been reported only very occasionally in the area.
Jessica recalls: “Toby said there was something in the water. I did not believe him, but then I looked over and the fins were huge. There were two large ones which looked like they were circling a smaller one. We watched for a while and the smaller one seemed to swim away, then I ran back home to alert my mother who is a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue , but she had gone out. By the time I got back, the fins had gone too.
The family, had only moved to Bacton about a month ago from Wells-next-the-Sea, and neither Jessica nor Toby had ever seen anything like these fins. The only cetacean species seen regularly off the Norfolk coast is the harbour porpoise.
Possible second sighting
Sea Watch Director Peter Evans says: “Interestingly, there was another sighting of two killer whales, possibly the same animals, at Humberston Fifties off the Norfolk coast, by Dick Lorrand two days earlier. Killer whales rarely enter the southern North Sea. It is possible they were in the area in pursuit of common seals which forms part of their diet.”
Sea Watch is a UK-wide marine mammal research and conservation charity, and the holder of the largest database of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Europe. Information gathered during National Whale and Dolphin Watch feeds into scientific discussions on trends and distribution to help develop effective conservation policies. A total of 29 species of whales, dolphins and porpoise have been seen in UK waters , including a dwarf sperm whale seen in UK waters for the first time last year.

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