Whale seen in river in King’s Lynn
- Credit: Ian Burt
A whale was spotted in the Great Ouse in King's Lynn this morning.
It was sighted near the Cut Bridges at around 8am.
A crowd of people gathered on the riverbank at Harding's Pits to see the creature - which is still to be identified but believed to be a pilot or minke whale.
It surfaced every few minutes, blowing a spout of water before breathing and diving again.
As the tide turned, the whale was carried downstream towards Boal Quay. As it approached the bank, a number of what appeared to be fresh wounds could be seen in its back.
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The whale appeared to be struggling to fight the powerful current in the tidal river, as it was carried towards South Quay and the Custom House.
Carl Chapman, of Wildlife Tours and Education who runs the Norfolk Cetacean website, said he believed it could be a fin whale.
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'There has been numerous records through history of fin whales in the Ouse so it's not that unusual,' he added.
He said the whale may have taken the wrong turn when returning from the Arctic, where the mammals migrate to for the summer.
Towards Autumn, they normally work their way down south towards the Atlantic Ocean along the west side of the UK.
'This whale has come down east of the country, and instinct tells him to head southwest which is probably how he ended up in King's Lynn,' Mr Chapman added.
He also believes that the whale may have headed to Norfolk waters to meet it's end.
'The animal appears to have lacerations on the dorsal area, how they were caused I don't know but obviously it ran into trouble,' he said. 'It may be coming in to shallow water to die - if you imagine being exhausted through injury, then having to breath above water would be difficult.
'It may prefer to rest it's head on the bank somewhere instead of being in distress, sinking or drowning.
'But hopefully it will make its way back out to sea.'
In recent winters, a number of sperm whales have washed up on the beach in Hunstanton and Snettisham. All have died, despite attempts to save them.
When the tide goes out and leaves the creatures stranded, they suffocate under their own weight without the water to support them.
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