Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Mysterious sea creature washed ashore in Orkney identified

The beached whale at Marwick Bay in Orkney.
The beached whale at Marwick Bay in Orkney.

When Catriona Macgregor brought her tour group to Orkney from America, it was to mainly to see puffins.

But they got more than they bargained for when they stumbled across the remains of a huge sea creature.

The 14ft long mammal has been lying in Marwick Bay for sometime, but scientist Ms Macgregor, who has a Masters in the Sciences, spotted it this week – and she was determined to find out what it was.

Catriona Macgregor, who discovered the mysterious creature on the shore, said: “I was leading a group to see the puffins and there it was right on the beach, which initially humorously we thought may have been the pictish beast.

“We were extremely surprised and quite amazed and perplexed because of the fact it had fur.”

Dr Macgregor set about finding out what the creature was, eventually concluding that mysterious looking creature in fact belongs to the cuvier species of the beaked whale family.

Coming from a scientific background, Ms Macgregor plans to analyse a sample of the fur-like substance found on the washed up whale.

Dr Macgregor said: “I’m going to put it under a microscope and I would be surprised if it wasn’t some sort of algae like organism, but if necessary we can run some DNA tests.”

Anna Bunney, education co-ordinator for marine protection charity ORCA, said: “The beaked whale family are quite elusive. They are deep divers and can hold their breath for a long time. The cuvier beaked whale is the species we see the most and they have been known to dive for two hours and 43 minutes to depths of 3,000 meters and can be found in European waters.

“As beaked whales are very elusive they tend not to spend so much time at the surface, coming up for air and then disappearing.

“Some species of the beaked whale have never been seen alive.

Dr Sam Collin of Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Dead stranded whales can pose a threat to the public. This animal could be carrying diseases or infections so we would advise that people stay well back, avoid touching it, and leave it up to the relevant authorities to deal with.”

Anna Bunney added: “Whales and dolphins die out at sea due to natural causes and a variety of different threats such as pollution and ingesting plastics. Most of the time they will sink to the bottom of the sea, but occasionally due to storms and tidal changes whales and dolphins can wash up on land.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]