British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2005-12-03 15:35:57

Cetacean stranding - Westray, Orkney

At 9.15am I received a call from Bob Reid (SAC) concerning a 'dolphin' stranding at the Bay of Tuquoy on the island of Westray in the Orkneys.

It had been reported by local resident Christine Patterson who I spoke to as I am currently 'on-call' for BDMLR calls nationally. I then spoke to another resident, Jimmy Stout who was able to provide more detail. The 'dolphin' had been seen stranded in a shallow water in the bay and was described as about 7 ft long. He was happy to go and take a closer look and help if possible.

Unfortunately, Ross Flett (Orkney Seal Rescue), was in Perth so unable to assist. I spoke to Ali Jack Snr who started to prepare to get some medics and equipment on the next ferry across to Orkney and then on to Westray.

At 09.55 Jimmy called again to confirm the 'dolphin' was in deeper water, swimming on its side and he then lost sight of it. He was going to remain in the area to see if it restranded.

At 10.15hrs he called again as it had restranded. He described it as being about 7ft long, lighter underneath, very dark on its back and with no recognisable beak. It was very lively and he decided to try and get in back in the water.

At 10.19hrs he called again to confirm that the animal had just died. I asked him to check corneal/blowhole reflexes and these confirmed it had died. The 'lively' activity previously reported was probably pre-death convulsions.

He has now covered the carcass and arrangements are being made to get the body to Bob Reid at SAC for a PM. Jimmy will be emailing me some images later today.

Thanks to Jimmy Stout, Christine Patterson, Bob Reid and Ali Jack for their help.

Tony Woodley
BDMLR Director