Posted by: The ocean update | October 16, 2015

Whale washed up on Overstrand beach (Norfolk, UK)

The dead whale, believed to be a minke, washed up on Overstrand beach. Picture : JANET ELLIS

The dead whale, believed to be a minke, washed up on Overstrand beach. Picture : JANET ELLIS

October 16th, 2015 (Alex Hurrell). Sea watchers are on the lookout for a dead whale which washed up briefly at Overstrand this morning.

The animal, believed to be a minke whale, is estimated to be between 10ft and 15ft long (3m-4.6m).

It was first spotted by early morning dog walkers, including Jim Lilley, who lives in Church Close, Overstrand.

“I was on the clifftop with the dog at about 7.30am when I saw it in the surf, 200m west of Overstrand beach, near Cromer Golf Course,” said Mr Lilley.

“It was wallowing the surf near the revetment but got swept back into the deeper water before I could get a picture. It may drift towards Cromer on the ebb tide,” added Mr Lilley, a former Cromer coastguard chief.

Janet and Peter Ellis, whose Overstrand home overlooks the sea, were luckier.

They were phoned by some friends walking their dog on the beach, rushed down and did manage to photograph the whale before it disappeared back out to sea.

“There’s a break in the revetments there, caused by the 2013 storm, and it was rolling backwards and forwards,” said Mrs Ellis who added that they had seen harbour porpoise and seals on the beach before, but not whales.

She contacted Carl Chapman, Norfolk Cetacean Recorder and regional co-ordinator of the Sea Watch Foundation, who rushed down to look himself.

“I went down minutes after she phoned but unfortunately it had gone,” said Mr Chapman.

“From her very good photo I would say it was an emaciated male minke whale, distinguished by white bands on its pectoral flippers,” he added.

Minkes, which were found in many oceans, were becoming commoner off the Norfolk coast where the sub species the northern minke was found.

“They would normally feed further north and move south to winter,” he added.

Other recent possible sightings of live minkes include one spotted by Dave Curtis 500m off Cley on September 14, one a mile off Cley seen by Trevor Davies on August 30, and another seen about three quarters of a mile off West Runton on July 11 by George List and Jon Dory.

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