Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wild west winter triumph!

Regular readers will have noticed that there has been a bit of a gap in our blog. The weather has just been too extreme in recent days.

I arrived at the Ocean Lab at 11 am. It was windy, bitter cold with heavy showers. Holly was leading her volunteers Ben, Sean and Jens out to Strumble..Brrr, good luck thought I!

So I doubt anyone else in the UK were going out to watch cetaceans, far less photograph them but yep, our Team Sea Trust were! Call it madness, call it dedication but yes in the midst of a wild,cold December week, they went out on a mission.

And so when they returned and I met them I was ready to commiserate but they were smiling the smile of those who have conquered  adversity and come out on top. Anything I asked? Porpoises and Risso's was the reply! they even got some photo's Holly sent me this one of a Risso's but she was annoyed they had not managed to get any porpoises! Given the circumstances I think getting anything was a miracle!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Strumble diary 9/12 17. One porp in a short visit...

I manged a brief visit today just after high tide. Not the best of times but at least i did have asingle  individual showing briefly. Good old Ken turned up just before I had to go , I hope he did a bit better!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

More Risso's from Phil!

3 or 4 Risso's spotted at Stumble just as darkness arrived. One very large one very close to Pen Caer point, 400 m off point in tidal race - number of forward belly flop type breaches in a row.


Phil Horner |

Thanks Phil, they just seem to keep turning up!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Out and about on the Dolphin Coast!

On Monday I decided to take our interns, Laura and Jens on a day out looking at some of our coast heading off north towards Newquay in the hope of Bottlenose Dolphins and then working back. 
Nothing at Newquay but hey a negative result is a result no Bottles, no Porp's, No Seals their big three were absent. The Teifi estuary was lovely but not showing any cetaceans whereas, Cybwr bay produced some very distant dolphins, possibly bottles but looked like Risso's.. If they were, its the furthest north I have ever seen them.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


This afternoon Jens and the walrus went down to Strumble in the hope of catching up with the Risso's. We had not been there more than a few minutes when the distinctive fin was seen briefly moving with the rising tide from beyond the lighthouse. The northerly winds of recent days allied to a big tide messed up the sea and the Risso's  kept us guessing as they surfaced briefly and randomly. There were at least three but maybe more such was the difficulty in tracking them. I made several attempts to get some images but managed nothing more than a fin tip! I have snapped lots of Risso's over the years but just getting this one was quite a challenge and i was quite chuffed when I got it!

Strumble Diary 03/12/2017

With a little more promise than the weather forecast of today I set off early to catch the tide. When I arrived the sky was starting to cloud over which meant more poor light. However the porps were there but not in big numbers and were showing quite well considering the turbulence of the waves. Sadly no Rissos in this session but we can't have everything we wish for I suppose. As the tide came toward low water the porps died away so I decided to call it a day and head for home.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Strumble Rissos (still there)

I managed a few hours away from the paint brushes this afternoon and headed off for a short session before the light dipped away. Cloudy conditions with a turbulent sea made spotting a challenge. Soon after I arrived Anthony joined me and we spent at least an hour just looking at water except for one brief sighting of a porp by Anthony. I caught sight of another two later in the session but they were just the side show. As I scanned the water I sighted a Rissos fin some 400mtrs off. The sighting was brief and no picture this time. This was how it continued as over the next hour we had fourteen sightings but all very brief and not a chance of an image. The next sighting was of a pair of younger animals and this time I did get on them much to my relief. Over the next forty minutes or so the count went up to twenty sightings and by this time I had several images on the card. The weather was turning to rain and the light was shocking so we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow promises cloud all day so today's pics may be all I get for the next week or so but we'll wait and see.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Porthcawl Porpoises

It was perishing cold in Porthcawl today but a Northerly calms the sea here so I got a survey in before it started blowing westerly. Although the sea was calm there is no nice snuggly lookout like you Strumblers have so I wrapped up. After a blank 15 minutes I warmed up with 3 porps quite close inshore but about 1/4 mile along the coast. They stayed visible for over 30 minutes so a successful survey.
Great effort Steve, yep that's real dedication!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Wildlife observer training courses 2018 - BOOK NOW

Check out next year's wildlife observer training courses. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment! These courses have an internationally recognised academic accreditation and are delivered by highly experienced Sea Trust Experts and  Senior Lecturer, Powell Strong of Pembrokeshire College.

Recommendation from Elfyn Pugh on Face Book!
It's great to see these excellent wildlife observer training courses up and running again at the Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest West Wales. As far as I am aware they are the only academically 'accredited' courses in the UK so they are absolutely ideal to include on your CV. Attending a course will certainly provide you with the basics if you are thinking of progressing further with your education to degree level. I have taken part in all of these courses in recent years and I have nothing but the highest praise for the tutors. Pembrokeshire is also one of best areas in the UK for spotting cetaceans such as harbour porpoise, Risso's dolphin, common dolphin and Minke whale and the famous Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphins regularly visit the north of the county. Pembrokeshire is also host to some of the most significantly important seabird breeding islands in Northern Europe.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Risso's still with us!

Our Sea Trust "Porp-Fin" volunteer team braved cold winds and heavy showers interspersed with hail at Strumble Head this morning. The weather was whipping up the sea into a messy chop, making life extremely difficult in terms of spotting and photographing anything. None the less among the breakers and spray they did manage to briefly spot a couple of Risso's which makes the effort of going out into the wild November weather worth the effort!  sadly no pic's but well done! It all helps to build the picture.