[UPDATE BELOW] A finback whale measuring 46 feet long and weighing between 20 and 30 tons was found washed up on Atlantic Beach on Long Island this morning. Kim Durham of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation tells Newsday (paywall) that her group had been tracking the whale from Long Branch, New Jersey. She said the whale, which was not a fully matured adult, appeared to have been dead for some time, and Newsday reports that this morning its corpse "filled the humid, hazy air with a foul stench." The tail is reportedly severely damaged.

A necropsy will be conducted tomorrow morning, and then the whale's body will be chopped into pieces and incinerated (thus avoiding any unpleasant whale explosions). Alison Arden Besunder, a visitor to the beach from Brooklyn, said she "feels terrible" for the whale but didn't get why it was still on the beach. "I'm sure there is a reason and logistical issues," she told Newsday, "but I wonder why they can't take it away right now." Yeah, blow off stupid smelly dead whale!

It's unclear how the whale died, but the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the numbers of finback whales, which are second in size only to blue whales, have decreased from decades of hunting.

UPDATE: It's still unclear how the whale died, but Alison Besunder, quoted above, writes in to tell us: "Please note that I the quote attributed to me by Newsday is incorrect and I have notified them... What I said to the Newsday reporter was that (and I quote) 'in our instantaneous culture, we have a tendency to expect things to be taken care of immediately and that is not always practical.' I said that I was sure there was a reason that the whale had not been taken away and that the authorities were taking care of it."