Monday, 22 May 2017

More Bottles this morning... Strumble Diary ... Porpoise soup this afternoon

Had a smashing morning with Anna, Helena, Hanika and Gonzalo watching Bottlenose Dolphins up close and personal on the Outer Breakwater Fishguard Harbour. This afternoon we went to Strumble and met up with Powell Strong and a group from South Wales University who were there to do some porpoise watching They were in luck the porpoises were putting on a show,

Powell invited us to tell the students about our work and Ken explained about our photo ID work. They were a great bunch of young women and men who seemed interested in what we had to say even though it was warm  and sunny and they had got up at 5 am to travel here!

We also met their lecturer Tim who is running the course and we talked about ways we could work together which could be good fun and quite interesting!
Over to Ken for some very interesting pic's...

Bottle and Strumble Triple Bonus

Following on from this morning then and I did get to the breakwater after a call from Cliff to advise of five bottles moving around. By the time I got there though four had moved off and the last one also left shortly after I arrived. I managed enough shots to recognise it as Notchy of Notchy & Scratch fame a mother and calf we have seen before. Another visit to Strumble with Cliff and a couple of volunteers hoping to catch some action on the rising tide.
      As we arrived the tide race was forming and one or two porps were showing at a distance. A group of students from the University of South Wales gathered in front of the lookout and coincidentaly were there to study cetaceans also. They were joined by Cliffs old friend Powell from Pembs College and we all did click counts for an hour or so. Powell invited Cliff and myself to give an impromptu talk which we were pleased to do. The porp action was fast and furious with lots of animals out in the tide race feeding and showing well. I thought yesterday was good as it deliverd two previously seen animals but today was even better. Not two but three distinctive fins, two of which I've caught before and one new one as far as I can tell. As an extra bonus one of them had a young calf too. As you can imagine this entry is dedicated to them but many more were seen. The quality is not the best due to the poor light at times but it's the detail we're after and sometimes we have to sacrifice quality for the data these shots provide.

New Animal for the ID project.

Strumble Diary 22/05/2017

A short session this morning as the low tide moves toward late morning hopefully allowing another session this afternoon if the light is OK and if the bottlenose don't show on the breakwater. Just a few porps around mostly just beyond the tide race with some others showing poorly in the choppy water beyond the lighthouse.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Training Day with A Strumble Bonus

Today was a traing day for some new volunteers on the Porpoise fin ID project. We started at 11.15 with Anna opening the course followed by Chantelle and then myself doing the behaviour and photography side of things. After the talk was over we went to the breakwater to show them the layout and hopefully to see if there were any Bottlenose about. Sadly they were'nt so we headed off to Strumble for a snack lunch and further observation training. Everybody soon got into the swing and sighted a group of porps feeding off to the NW. We watched them moving with the tide flow feeding as they did so and as they came closer some of the volunteers had a chance to use the camera and practice tracking the fast moving porps. While this was going on I was perched behind my lens and was delighted to see an animal that we knew well and had seen before. A result I thought, and quite timely as this was the whole purpose of training up the volunteers to capture this sort of activity. In the group of five or so animals lay another surprise as I suddenly spotted split fin, another of our previously sighted porps. A bonus indeed to have five or six animals there of which two were distinctive returners. Job done and a great day all in all.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

We counted them out and then counted them back in...

Ferry Survey Fri/Sat

Laura, Rens and Steve set off full of hope on Friday. Our first sighting were two Sea Trust stalwarts Ken and Brad doing a survey from the end of the outer breakwater. See Ken's blog for his photos of us. The sea state was not too bad and Laura soon spotted our first porpoise shortly followed by Rens finding one. The sea state deteriorated to SS 4 and our sightings stopped and never restarted. The sea from Tusker Rock in to Rosslare was back to SS3 but nothing. We made a determined bid for the Rosslare resident bottlenose dolphin as we sign of it. Laura and Rens checked for it as we set off at 9.00pm...nothing. Steve was on deck looking before breakfast...still nothing and finally when we sailed at 9.00am not about. We had much better sea conditions for the morning crossing but other than 2 porpoise just beyond Tusker a complete blank. Not even the usual porps off Strumble. We were on the verge of packing up when Laura spotted Cliff on the breakwater. Well if Cliff is there he must be looking at the Fishguard bottle nosed dolphins. Laura spotted a fin and yes a disappointing survey was changed by 3 bottles. As it transpired Cliff was there to tale photos of our return and never saw the bottles!! Where are the common dolphins? We would have expected some. Is there a really good food source somewhere so they have formed up into a superpod?? Questions Questions.

Stevo had a barrel of fun snapping this jelly!

This is one of the huge but harmless barrel jellyfish that have been washing up in their thousands, (nice pic's Stevo)

Strumble Diary 20/05/2017

Hopeful of doing both Strumble and the breakwater this morning so I made an early start for Strumble in the hopes of some early tide action. Thankfully the Porps were there and a group of around five animals moved through feeding as they went with many gulls and gannets in attendance. With these shots in the bag I then went to the breakwater for a couple of hours but despite the bottles having been sighted earlier they didn't show while I was there. I hope to get back for the change of tide so maybe better luck then.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Quiet Day

An early trip to Strumble today but things were very quiet there. The tide was flooding and I did see several porps at distance mostly just passing through but no real action. So back to base and a stint on the breakwater with Brad in the afternoon. Unlike the excitement of yesterday there were no bottlenose about and only a couple of porps showing in the choppy water off Crincoed point. With my shutter finger feeling restless I had to resort to shooting the local birdlife and as the ferry departed Team Seatrust embarking on another survey crossing.

Waiting to Leave
Watching us watching you.
Taking me Taking you.
Let the survey begin.