Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Breakwater Bottles Ride Again

Yesterday early afternoon (Tuesday) the bottlenose were back on the breakwater point and further into the bay. I observed around twelve all together with a few juveniles and several adults. I was joined by Freddie and friend Rose just as the ferry approached and we were all treated to a great show as some of the dolphins rode the bow as it entered port making for some great image opportunities. Shortly after that the dolphins made their way out of the bay toward Dinas Hd and I lost sight of them about two miles out. With the dolphins safely away two adult and a calf Porpoise made their way out from the inner harbour and stayed around the end of the breakwater for several minutes.  It may be that they had sought the safety of the inner harbour to avoid conflict with the dolphins. The Seatrust team joined me for the last few minutes of the session as we watched the porpoises quietly make their way out of the bay. Enjoy the pics.

Second Seatrust Porpoise Symposium

The second porpoise symposium was held last night in the Merlin Theatre of Pembrokeshire College. In front of an expectant and large audience the evenings proceedings were opened with an intro by Dr Rob Davies who explained his role in turning the data gathered in the field into a presentable form for use in establishing the importance of the Pembrokeshire coast and especially Ramsey Sound and Strumble Head  as porpoise hot spots. Cliff then gave a short explanation of the difficulties of getting our data across to the bodies concerned with the establishment of SAC's (Special Areas of Conservation) and the accrued data on the spread of porpoises observed in the region before handing over to Chantelle who presented a section on fin identification, the need for more observation plus various other issues. It was then over to myself to give an insight into the photographic processes involved in achieving the quality of image needed for fin identification and a short section on observation of social behaviour. The evening was rounded off with a Q&A session with many and varied questions being asked of the various speakers present. Many thanks also to Anna for looking after the admissions and helping Cliff on stage and to Mr David Powell for kindly recording the event on video. To the staff of Pembs College and all those who attended making the evening a great success.

Cliff greets old friends Stign and Annita who spent some time helping out last year as part of a three month placement in Pembrokeshire.

                                 The audience take their seasts ready for the evenings events.

                                      Cliff starts proceedings by introducing Dr Rob Davies.

Dr Rob Davies leaves the stage as Cliff introduces Malcolm Barradell who talks about the Porpoises of Ramsey Sound.

       Cliff starts off the Seatrust section of the symposium with the able assistance of Anna.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Super Sunday/damned Jet-ski's...

I was looking forward to meeting up with the London Pembrokeshire Group this morning and dspite a few heavy Showers it was rather beautiful out on the breakwater with scudding clouds turquoise sea and plenty of circling Gannets off Pen Anglas.

Some porpoises were showing beneath them a little distant but I think most of the group got a glimpse! All in all, lovely people and nice to be showing them the breakwater, some of its wildlife and history!
Unfortunately for them the best was still to come...

A pleasant elderly couple from Shropshire came into the Ocean Lab and asked if we did any short walks. I was a bit bored so I told them to hop in the car and we would have a look on the breakwater. Just as we were getting in the car we got a call from Adrian passing on a message from Steve Berry, saying there were dolphins off the harbour mouth. My couple from Shropshire had lucked in big time!

Sadly these two came screaming out of the harbour and went through the dolphins possibly without even seeing them! The dolphins raced out of the harbour mouth and out to sea. The official speed limit within the harbour is 5 mph, way below anything these guys were moving at probably nearer to 50 mph.. They were also buzzing the Ferry in the prohibited area and have been reported to the Port Manager by Port Security. These show offs, whether they know it or not, were endangering the ferry and also the dolphins. If this kind of stupidity continues we will lose the Dolphins. We really need some effective signage on the slipway! 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A brief encounter of the porpoise variety on the breakwater...

Chantelle and I went onto the breakwater this afternoon, We saw some gannets off the end andf went to investigate. No Dolphins for several days now but the Porpoises showed up breifly including at least one mother and calf...

Stevo's Strumble Report!

Thursday 22nd September

Joel and I went to Strumble Head at 3:00pm ish. 
And we saw at least 7 or more Harbour Porpoises on the flooding tide and they were feeding underneath the gannets. The sea conditions was moderate force 4/5 south westerly.

PS: also saw a lone seal as well 



Strumble Diary 21/9/16

Almost three quarters through the year and we continue to log porpoises on a daily basis
Plenty about as the tide began to make spread over a wide arc to the west. Sadly I had to go before things started to really get moving but still managed a few shots....

They were obviously feeding and according to the local fishermen, there are big shoals of  sprats about

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Strange Day At Strumble 17/09/2016

A strange day indeed! Everything pointed to a good day ahead. The weather was fair with a dropping northerly wind and it was a big tide on the ebb shortly after I arrived. For an hour I saw nothing with no Gannets hunting close in and only a small group of gulls below the lookout bobbing away on the water. A short moment of excitement as a Peregrine flashed by below at high speed and then it was back to looking at open water. Richard spotted a lone Risso well out but I failed to see it and again later he spotted it going back east to west but again I missed it. I caught a single porp off the point and that proved to be the only porp shot of the day. The day was saved when a pod of around twenty commons showed up about a mile out which then split up into groups of three or four hunting around for about twenty minutes before moving off to the west on the tide. A few fleeting glimpses of porps as the low tide approached and that was it. Even off the lighthouse where you would expect to see several porps at that state of tide there were only the odd one or two over a long period. Strangely, as the title suggests four guys appeared out of the sea and were climbing up the ridge on the seaward side of the lighthouse. Not something I would attempt and I wonder what might have happened if the ebb tide in full 8-10 kn flow had snatched them away. I shudder to think. The last sighting was of a young seal pup making it's way out to sea, no doubt it had just left the beach by the island.

The tide flowing behind these guys was like a river in full flood. You have to question the sense of it.

                     Fresh off the beach and making his/her first forray into the big bad world.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Breakwater Porp's and yesterdays Strumble Porp's

There were about half a dozen gannets wheeling around over the mouth of the breakwater so we got in the car to investigate. I was sort of hoping for some dolphins but it took a couple of minutes before Chantal spotted a porpoise in among the waves and glittering dazzle. It was hard enough getting a view but I fired off a few shots more in hope than expectation. They say the lord loves a trier and surprisingly it paid off with this mother and calf!

Yesterday we did a porpoise click count at Strumble. It was low tide and we were not expecting much. The conditions were flat calm with good visibility.most of what we saw was distant but at the end of the count things were beginning to move with a couple of porpoises showing  off Mackerel Rock

Porp's of Mackerel Rock
Chantelle filling in recording form.