Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Strumble Diary 21/03/2017

I didn't expect to get a session in today but the gods and my darling wife were smiling on me. I arrived around 9.30ish to find a stiffening westerly with a moderate swell and scattered heavy showers. As we are on small tides there wasn't mush of a tide race but the porps were active all the same and thankfully quite close in too which makes seeing identifying marks much easier. Although most were unscathed one individual had a large scar on it's left flank and will be added to the fin/marked porp ID Database for future reference. If I had any doubts before as to the use of tail slapping as a comunication method they were dispelled today. Two individuals who had been feeding off to my right together had then gone their seperate ways. Later I observed one animal vigourously tail slapping in the same area and was watching as the other animal returned to it and they both then headed off with the tide toward Fishguard bay. It would seem the lower frequency of the sound made by slapping travels well under water in certain consitions and that they are able to home in on it.

Tail Slapping sequence.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Another Awesome Strumble Day

A dreary morning and not a lot of hope at getting an early session in so it was a case of wait for it to clear. Clear it did and just before noon I headed off with pup in tow for Strumble. A strongish WNW wind was pushing the last of the flood flow and over the first hour or so I saw and captured several porpoise. As expected when the tide slowed so did the sightings but I always hope for those illusive Rissos to fill the gap. A couple from Penally near Tenby came into the lookout and a bit of local knowledge was passed on not to mention Leo the porp hound showering them with affection before they continued their walk to seek out seals etc.  Cliff, Rens and Laura arrived later in the session and over the hour or so they were there we spotted a few more porps as the ebb started to flow. They left and I jokingly said I was staying an hour or so longer for Risso time. Sure enough about 30 mins after they left as I was tracking a porp through the lens then that heart stopping sight filled the viewfinder as four large fins crossed the screen. "Risso Time". I tracked them for ten minutes or so before they went deep and was then lucky enough to cathch them again 15 mins later although by this time they had washed further down the tide race. The gent from Penally returned to inform me that they has seen two otters off the lighthous in Carreg Onnen bay. Just another day at my Strumble Office.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Breakwater Porpoises!

I took Laura and Rens for a bit of fresh air on the breakwater and Laura spotted porpoises quite close in. We had not seen any there for several weeks so it was a nice surprise! We estimated possibly half a dozen.Here s a few of the pic's we got!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Risso's and Porpoises showing at Strumble!

Yesterday Team Sea Trust were at Strumble with our President, Iolo Williams who had come to show support for our Year of the Welsh Porpoise campaign. As usual Strumble produced the goods ! Despite poor conditions both Risso's and Porpoises put in an appearance, not bad for a brief half hour stint , Where else but Strumble??? Today Adrian Rogers reported a single Risso's!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sea Trust North were also our there!

Dr Tony Gallon and his Sea Trust North  team were on the Stena Superfast on the  Holyhead/Dublin route on the Monday 13th, and it seems avoided the fog that bedeviled the efforts of our southern team led by Steve Rosser on the following days... Conditions were far from helpful, but they had porpoise sightings and a small dolphin that was probably a common. The big news was a sighting of a Bulwer's Petrel which if accepted will be a first foe Ireland! Just goes to show you never know what will turn up if you get out there!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Rissos Back in Town.

With an early high tide this morning I knew there was little chance of catching any porps at Strumble untill it started to ebb but my gut feeling was go anyway. With lots of sea mist about lately there was a good chance that later in the day it may sweep in and I needed to take Leo the porp hound out anyway. As we arrived at the car park I noticed something large and white way out in the tide race. By the time I got the binos out it had gone though. A short trek down to the lookout and the gear was set up. As I turned around there it was again, so straight to the camera swing around, focus and bingo "Rissos". First of the season for me and a group of three (possibly a family group) and another single animal way off and not interacting with the others. I concentrated on the group as they were easier to follow and I lost sight of the individual.

    Later in the morning it was back to the Ocean lab to help Anna and Chantelle with the welcome and training of some new volunteers for the Porpoise Fin ID project. During the training session we went to Strumble and I imparted my knowledge of the area and habits of the porpoise to the trainees. We saw at least a dozen porps to the west of the lighthouse but only a couple came up as far as the lookout.