Sunday 30 September 2018

Beluga Whale 25+29 September 2018, Gravesend, Kent

New mammals are few are far between, for me, these days so news around mid-day (25 Sept) of a Beluga Whale in Kent sounded too good to be true. Amazingly, however, the news was far from duff and subsequent messages seemed to confirm that this arctic cetacean was seemingly settled in a stretch of the river Thames near Gravesend - just 25 minutes from the office.

As occasionally working day involved some important guests and as the 'host' I could hardly depart. Thankfully, my guests decided to head back to London half an hour earlier than expected allowing me to take a slightly extended lunch break at 3pm.

Joined by Adrian Harris, the miles were soon being eaten up as we progressed 'quite positively' towards our chosen quarry. Whilst the sat nav seemed to be taking the correct route to the ideal parking location, our path was also being guided by BBC and Sky News helicopters. They were already in the air broadcasting the news to the masses.

The Beluga showed occasionally about two-thirds out across the Thames - amazing to see this white vagrant so close to home. I was back in the office at 5:10pm - nice!

29 September: With such a rare whale hanging in and seemingly looking fit and well, a return trip on the Saturday seemed a great opportunity for even better views. And so at 1pm, the Newham clan were all on the edge of the Thames trying to find the best vantage point from which to provide junior clan members with their first views of a whale.

The whale had moved upriver from Tuesday's sighting and was now just offshore from the Gravesend Sailing Club. Half the distance from earlier viewings, the resulting record shots are still hardly the stuff of the BBC Wildlife Photograph of the Year Awards! Not even sure I shall enter of them for the 2019 Countryfile Calendar...

Beluga Whale 29/9/18 Gravesend, Kent
Beluga Whale 29/9/18 Gravesend, Kent
Beluga Whale 29/9/18 Gravesend, Kent
Beluga Whale 29/9/18 Gravesend, Kent
And a Little Egret - just adding a little whiteness to the day...

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