NEW KID ON THE
In my last report, I eluded to the fact that there was an unusual animal on one of the outer beaches of Small Point. I didn't waste time checking it out, and was rewarded with a great find. Two friends and I drove part way out, then trudged through the freshly fallen snow to an isolated beach. There we found a large, well decorated mammal that we had never seen up close, especially in this neck of the woods. After having encounters with stranded whales and porpoises in recent months, I knew right away that what we had on our hands was a dolphin. I just marveled at the beautiful markings on this unusual creation. It was as if an artist took his brush and painted the animal. For example, there was a distinct black circle around the eye that extended forward in a line like mascara. The teeth on the open mouth were quite small, and are used primarily for grabbing fish, squid or shrimp, which they swallow whole. The tail and fins were artistic, as if carved out. You can tell, I got carried away. I brushed the freshly fallen snow off the dead animal and started to take pictures. I even laid down to show the size comparison.
The animal was midway up on the beach, but probably bathed again at high tide. I was concerned about its floating away and went back to tie it up. I have no idea how long it will remain there, but rest assured, I will keep an eye on the animal.
So what do we know about Dolphins? We believe this to be a White-sided Dolphin which is found in more northern waters. They generally do not travel alone, but why this one landed on the beach is a puzzle. There was just some blood around the front mouth area, and a few scratches on the underside, but otherwise it seemed in perfect shape. Its skin is firm and tight, with no fur, despite its being a mammal. It eats and sleeps in the water and has lungs for air breathing, with a blow hole.
Since those two trips out to see the dolphin, I've been in touch with a local person who works for the Department of Marine Resources. I hope to take her out soon to document the animal and try to determine the cause of its death. We've been lucky so far to have cold weather and less than extreme tides. It surprises me that no birds or other animals have attacked the dolphin. So this story has yet to have an ending. Stay tuned.
1/5/09 Welcoming the New Year with a Dolphin.....Ronnie.