Saturday, 21 July 2018

More on Bottles...

We  are hoping to get some matches from photos of Kens Dolphins which Ken tells me,were mainly females with calves. It remains to be seen whether they were part of the "resident" Cardigan Bay bottles or strangers from elsewhere.
It seems that  they were seen heading south at other locations including Whitesands  Ramsey Sound St Brides Bay and then as the sun was going down Skomer Warden, Ed Stubbings  took these wonderfully evocative images from Skomer!

It is very rare for Bottlenose Dolphins to be seen south of Cardigan Bay where Common Dolphins or even Risso's are more likely to be seen . However close inspection of Eds images show the trademark stubby beak of Bottlenose, so I am sure that these are probably the same pod of circa 30-40 mainly females and young! 

So are they ours or visitors? We will probably never know, but it would be nice to know if anyone else sees them!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Day of Days

Once or twice a year we get days out of the ordinary at Strumble where the normal becomes the abnormal and we usually get left with rather large smiles as these are usually positive experiences. Today was one such day of days but up on a different level to anything I've had before. It started quietly when I arrived at the start of the flood and the tide race hadn't yet formed. In the calm waters off to the west I watched as several small groups of porpoise moved NE in readiness for the feeding run against the increasing tide. As I scanned the distance I spotted a disturbance about three miles out and assumed it to be a pod of common dolphin. I pointed them out to a lady visiting the area and we watched them feeding and thrashing about as they moved west across our view.
      As luck would have it they turned SW and came closer as they moved through. There were approximately 50-60 animals spread over a wide area, some pairs others in larger groups but all moving together. Some (roughly half) carried on around the lighthouse at a distance but the rest headed into the tide race. By this time I was doing double takes as I felt there were bottlenose in there too. It turned out they were all bottlenose and before we knew it there were 30-40 spread from the lighthouse to the other side of Mackerel Point with a good percentage of them being calves or juveniles. Never before have I seen or heard of this number of bottlenose at Strumble but boy what a sight. We do see them there at times but only the odd few and usually at the beginning or end of season as they migrate or return. I'm sorry you all could not be there with me to see this marvel but I hope the images will suffice and convey the superb action that kept us enthralled for the best part of an hour. Nine hours later and I'm still smiling.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Bottle Delight

A quiet afternoon I thought, light lunch, watch the match then visit my mum for dinner. Then the phone rang and most of that went out of the window as it was a call to arms (well camera) as there were dolphins close in on the breakwater. Cliff and Josh one of our new interns were there and pointed out the bottlenose as I readied the kit. Seconds later I was shooting away as they darted and played out in front of us. Josh was watching in wonder as it was his first dolphin encounter and couldn't hide his delight as they put on quite a show. I'll not say much more but rather let the images tell the story as the seven or so animals fed, played and just enjoyed leaping around with gay abandon. Look out for the one with the very large fish and I hope you enjoy the sequenced image of a full breach captured in 1.5 seconds and combined in editing software.  ENJOY!!