Body of humpback whale washes up on Loch Fleet sandbank in the Scottish Highlands
The body of a humpback whale has washed up at a loch in the Scottish Highlands.
The mammal's carcass was discovered on a sandbank at Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve, about 30 miles north of Inverness.
NatureScot confirmed the death and said it had been reported to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS).
British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the UK's leading frontline marine mammal response organisation, was notified of the discovery at the sea loch on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the charity said: "The whale was partially submerged in the water and appeared to be lying on its back starting to decompose, obviously deceased.
"As the tide dropped, revealing more of the whale's body, it was identified as a humpback whale.
"We sent all the information we'd received to SMASS for their records."
It comes as contractors are evaluating how to remove the carcass of a 55ft (17m) fin whale washed up on a popular tourist beach in Bridlington, East Riding, without having to cut it up.
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The discovery also comes just two weeks after a dead minke whale washed up on a North Berwick beach.
Nature charity Scottish Environment LINK says that, although once rare, humpback whales are now being encountered with increasing frequency off Scotland's coast and they are known to migrate through Scottish waters between their feeding and breeding grounds.
SMASS was contacted for comment.