Week Ending August 24, 2014

There was a lot of excitement around Hampton Roads this week, despite the poor weather for getting out and taking photographs of wildlife. Early in the week, a large whale, yes, a whale, was sighted in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. Unfortunately, later in the week, by Thursday it had been discovered washed up along a tributary bank and wasn't moving. The Virginia Aquarium's Stranding Team then moved in and announced that the whale had passed. Crews eventually moved the body up to Craney Island where it would be given an autopsy by the aquarium staff to determine the cause of death. Whales are quite common along the coastline of Virginia Beach, but to see one so far inland is a rare event. The species, a Sei Whale, has also washed up on shore in Oceanview in Norfolk a couple years ago. The Elizabeth River whale turned out to be a younger female, measuring a massive 45 feet in length. While this was the big news, some other interesting sightings did occur as well. Folks on Listserver have been reporting sightings of Black Terns along the beachfront at Back Bay (Ron Furnish & Keith Roberts), as well as a sighting of a Lark Sparrow at Back Bay NWR by Ron Furnish! I unfortunately did not get out in the field much, having only hiked First Landing State Park on Sunday morning, but not finding a whole lot of wildlife due to the intense northeasterly wind we've been seeing over the past few days. 

The view from 64th Street out over the Atlantic Ocean, very churned up from northeasterly winds.