Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Holyhead-Dublin 9th July survey

Survey Report
9th July 2014.
Vessel: Stena Nordica
Time of departure from Holyhead: O855
Time of arrival in Holyhead: 1850
Present:                  Katy Hobson
                              David Williams
                              Richard Barlow.

Upon arrival at Holyhead at 0730hrs, I was shortly afterwards joined by David and then Richard in the ferry terminal. Check in time was around 0805, after which we boarded the vessel without incident.  We were seated in the cafĂ© area and then taken up to the bridge by around 0915.
Weather conditions were initially turbulent, Force 6 and northwesterly with bright, sunny conditions and scattered clouds. Sightings of rafts of seabirds, notably manx shearwater, guillemot and the occasional gannet or fulmar presided for the first half of the outbound leg. First porpoises were sighted around halfway across, small group of adults and a calf. One individual sighting was noted as a result of Mr. Williams experimenting with his camera and capturing a clear porpoise fin. Time was correlated with the ship’s log along with the bearing and range of the shot to give an accurate sighting and positive ID.
Closer to Dublin, the weather improved, decreasing to a force 3-4 Northwesterly. Cloud cover reduced and conditions became much more suitable.  Seabird sightings, Particularly guillemot and shearwater were sighted along with the known Tern colony on the inbound leg into Dublin harbour. Large numbers of Black Guillemot were also present within the Harbour limits and there seems to be a resident population, given the high numbers noted on previous surveys.
Arrival time in Dublin was around 1230, at which time the team went on break for lunch, having been invited down to the crew mess.  Weather conditions in port remained stable, where Mr. Williams recorded large numbers of Black Guillemot in the harbour.
Departure back towards Holyhead was at around 1530.  Similar numbers and species of seabirds were observed on the outbound passage. Approximately three miles offshore, a large sighting of approximately ten Harbour Porpoise in a group was observed to starboard, containing adults and juveniles.  Mr. Barlow then reported a smaller group following the larger group a few hundred yards behind.  We believe this may have been a movement between food sources.
Sightings of harbour porpoise were seen in small numbers along the return passage, possibly becoming more apparent due to calming weather conditions.  Wind force decreased as low as Force 2 after around 1700, with many birds settling out onto the water into rafts as opposed to their foraging behaviour seen in stronger wind conditions.
Arrival into Holyhead was around 1850.  The trip proceeded smoothly without incident from either the team or the crew. Everyone seemed happy with the results and the crew expressed their thanks and that they would see us again shortly.

K. Hobson

Friday, 18 July 2014

Common Dolphin - Grassholm

While working on Grassholm this week we saw a pod of c 12-15 common dolphins (including a few calves) c 1-2km off the north end of the island at 14:00 on 16/7

Cartlett Lady trip 17th July 2014

We left Neyland at 12pm yesterday with promise of a good trip and we weren't disappointed...
A couple of hours out and we had a pod of around 20 common dolphins come in to play with the boat including several calves and juveniles. Another group of around 6 or 8 then came in and joined them although these were all a larger individuals. We headed further out West but weren't lucky enough to spot any more dolphins, so instead headed up to Grassholm which is always an experience, especially for those who hadn't seen it before! We then headed into St. Brides Bay and back around Skomer and Skokholm to see the puffins and other bird life. We managed to spot a single porp in the tide race on the North side of Skokholm, and as we headed around the West side of the island saw some some blows and splashes out further to our West which turned out to be a pod of around 10 Risso's dolphins. The Risso's hung around for a while slowly moving around us and there were at least a couple of juveniles visible. After the Risso's had left us we headed South and had a couple more porpoise - mother and calf pair, before heading back into the Haven. 

Some film and pictures to follow...

Happy passengers and common dolphins - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-dNHBFJQCg&feature=youtu.be

Short clip of Risso's - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w3s14qcZr4&feature=youtu.be

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Single porpoise in Fishguard Bay yesterday morning - between the breakwater and Pwllgwaelod

Single porpoise in Newport Bay yesterday afternoon near Dinas Head

Several porpoises reported by Wdigbirder from Strumble yesterday afternoon

Monday, 14 July 2014

Bottlenose dolphins - maybe not in Welsh waters, but probably Welsh dolphins!?

From Dave Williams...
Yesterday I was lucky to be on a photographic pelagic trip in to Liverpool Bay when we came across a large pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. They swam alongside us for at least 30 minutes. It was difficult to ascertain numbers but I guessed at least 30, maybe as many as 50

Accurately counting dolphins in the field is really difficult if not impossible especially when you get into double figures!We have asked Dave to send fin shots to Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre as they have been doing Photo ID longer than anybody and their cataloger is available on their website www.cbmwg.org

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bottlenose in the bay

Film of one of the bottlenose dolphins in the bay last week, taken by Ian Hotchin from his boat

Irish Sea row sightings

On Monday we completed our row across the Irish Sea from Rosslare Harbour to Newport Boat Club in a time of 13 hours 53 minutes and 48 seconds!
We had 3 individual Risso's not too far from Tusker Rock, a very distant pod of common dolphins that looked to be busy feeding, a couple of porpoises and then a welcome committee of a pod of around a dozen common dolphins when coming in past Strumble...

We were rowing to raise money for Sea Trust, so if haven't already and would like to sponsor us, you can donate by just following the link - http://www.giving-back.co.uk/sea-trust-c.i.c./personal-challenge/fundraiser_4826.asp

Monday, 7 July 2014

Dawn got them in the end!

After we left the breakwater Dawn returned. The mother and calf and single adult had been joined by two more adults which put on a great show for her!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bottles are Back!

Ian Hotchin 

The Bottles were obviously fishing, Maybe a Sea Trout?

Mother and calf.

Just after five yesterday afternoon I got a call from Sea Trust supporter and local yachtsman Ian Hotchin telling me he had some Bottlenose Dolphins around the harbour mouth here in Fishguard.         I shot off with a couple of guys from Colorado that I was about to give a lift to St Davids.
Unusually, these were our first of the year, normally we see them first around March or April.
I rushed to the Stena security office and got the keys to the breakwater gate from Dawn, telling her to come and see them. She said she couldn't as there were lorries arriving, We arrived out on the breakwater and I could see Ian on his yacht pointing to where they were. We moved on towards the end and there, about three or four hundred yards off a big hooked fin revealed their presence. For the next 15 minutes I tried to get pic's of them with varying degrees of success. And then they were gone...As i looked around to try and find them I saw a fast patrol boat heading in to the harbour as well as a slower tug and heavy lifting vessel. The Dolphins had obviously heard them and just decided to disappear. Two minutes later Dawn drove up. Sorry dawn, enjoy the pic's though!
Having downloaded the pic's there seemed to be a single adult and then a mother and calf. The presence of the calf probably explains their disappearance as the boats approached. Either way it was great to see them, lets hope it was not just a flying visit!

Film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lur7-6TLuiU&feature=youtu.be

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

SeaSafari report this morning

Dan Worth has just returned from a morning's SeaSafari - they spotted a lone juvenile common dolphin off Pen Anglas, fairly close to the shore, who came in to interact with the boat. They then continued on to Strumble where they had 10's of porpoise feeding in the tidal disturbance given away by the gannets above. As they passed by Pen Anglas again on the return, around 90 minutes later they once again picked up the same lone common dolphin. This individual has probably been separated from it's parents, sadly. Lots of choughs around too, as well as basking seals on the rocks. 
If you'd like to head out on a fantastic wildlife watching spectacle with Dan Worth, give him call on 07964824150.