Cetaceans, pinnipeds and other animals (southern North Sea only)
Sula , Volume 4 - Issue 3 p. 118- 120
Summer 1990 was remarkable in many respects. Again it was a hot summer, again it followed a mild winter. Several most unusual sightings and strandings this spring and summer may have been related to the unusual environmental conditions. The Independent reported on at least 8 dead Sperm Whales Physeter macrocephalus on western Scottish beaches early summer (2 June 1990, RY). We recall Sperm Whale strandings in Denmark (2 alive, Fanø) and the Netherlands (1 corpse, Terschelling) early April. The review of sightings, now following, includes all reported cetaceans from March through August, since the record was rather incomplete in Sula’s last issue. In recent years, Harbour Porpoises Phocoena phocoena are seen every winter along the Dutch coast during seawatching. The last two specimens spotted from coastal sites this winter and spring were seen at Camperduin (Noord-Holland, NH) on 23th and 24th March (LS, NH) and at Egmond aan Zee (NH) on 6th April (2; RS, WS). Summer records were always very rare, however. A pod of 6 Porpoises seen heading S at Camperduin on 6 July 1990 was therefore quite exceptional (NH). Offshore sightings include two solitary specimens on 28th March, north of the Wadden Sea islands (MFL, TP; MV Holland). Harbour Porpoises were also seen twice on a trip NW of Vlieland on 9 (3) and 10 April (1) (MFL; MV Aurelia). Three (solitary) Porpoises were spotted from MV Tridens II, 25th and 26th April, in the German Bight. A crossing on board MV Waterproef (formerly Plancius) on 10 May 1990 produced several small groups of Harbour Porpoises in the Indifatigable Banks area, totalling 32 specimens, in flat calm conditions (BC). Herd sizes were 1, 3, 4, 4, and (unusually large) 20. On board MV Tridens II, late August, 2 Harbour Popoises were spotted in the Central North Sea (north of 57°N), while 18 Porpoises were observed in the German Bight (54°44’N, 7°E; MFL, MHL), operating in small pods of 2-3 individuals. All sightings south of 56° N are mapped in figure 1.
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