After a day on the beach on the south coast of Cornwall this Sunday, we heard that a Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus had stranded at Perranporth on the north coast. We quickly drove there and make a long trek over the beach to see it. The 40 foot (13-14 m) female had just died (beached whales usually die quickly). A post-mortem has been conducted to try to establish a cause of death (see here). There has been a recent mass stranding of Sperm whales in the North sea (see here for a very good overview article, including a map). The recent UK strandings all involved young males who often travel together, and probably got disoriented travelling south into the shallow funnel that is the North Sea. However, females are usually confined to the tropics and so this stranding is unlikely to be related. It was a very sad sight to see.