UPDATE: 8:20 p.m.
According to Mr. DiGiovanni, the approximately 60-foot-long female fin whale was buried on Saturday evening, with crews leaving the beach at just after 8 p.m. The whale was successfully examined on the beach prior to being buried, but the cause of its death could not be determined.
An approximately 50-foot-long, 30- to 40-ton fin whale, dead and decomposing, washed up just east of Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.
According to Alex Gregor, Southampton Town highway superintendent, the carcass was spotted early in the afternoon Friday floating three miles south of the Shinnecock Inlet. At approximately 8 p.m. that night, Mr. Gregor received a call that the whale had washed up 200 yards east of Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays on Suffolk County property.
Robert DiGionvanni, a senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said the foundation was at the scene and in the process of securing the animal and expect to bring it farther up onto the beach for closer examination, though the degree of decomposition made it unlikely that scientists would be able to determine an exact cause of death.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Gregor said the Suffolk County Department of Public Works planned to use county equipment to bury it farther back on the beach deep enough where it could not be uncovered by people digging in the sand. But by midday, the incoming tide had washed the whale back out to sea, at least for the time being.