Saturday, 18 February 2017

from Stevo and Joel at Strumble....

Stephen Lucas

14:46 (3 hours ago)
to me
Friday 17th February
Joel and I went to Strumble Head yesterday, Friday, at 11am which was
the top of high water.
We only saw one porpoise just milling about  amongst the feeding gannets.
There was no water movement and very little wind as well.
And also as well a solitary Grey Seal.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Rylands Birthday, he sent us a present!

video video
Some thrilling  video just in, of Common Dolphins bowriding Ryland Edwards vessel "Waterston" in Swansea Bay en route for Avonmouth last month. Happy Birthday Rye thanks for the present! Its not often we get to hear about Common Dolphins this far up the Bristol Channel especially in the depths of winter! Nice one Rye!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Porthcawl Porps

Yipee. A light northerly is a calming wind for Porthcawl so I got an hour in before the rugby. Sea state 2. Low swell. 8/8 cloud so no glare. Bingo. A porpoise swimming East quite close but it disappeared around Irongate Point. 20 minutes later a brief glimpse of a different porpoise to my West and about 3/4 mile out.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Chilly Porthcawl

Sea conditions down to sea state 2 so I headed off for a cetacean survey. Bitterly cold on Locks Common in a NW 2 breeze and a temperature of 4 degrees according to my car thermometer. February has never been a good month in Porthcawl for porpoise and so it proved again. 60 frozen minutes and no porps. My consolation was a fine glaucous gull flying in from the sea and a Mediterranean gull for good measure.

Strumble Diary 05/02/2017

A near perfect day for porp watching at Strumble today. Good light,excellent visibility and only a slight sea. The flood rip was just forming when I arrived (10.30am) and soon after a small group of porps moved in from the NE. I'd estimate around twenty in all through the session with several mother and calf pairings some moving together. The sightings tailed off as we approached high water and I closed the session at around 12.45pm.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Breakwater Sighting.

With foul weather yesterday and a busy day planned for today there was no chance of me getting to Strumble. However A report of three porpoise off the northern breakwater from Ian Hotchin did brighten the day.
     Many thanks for calling that in Ian.

Ken B

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Strumble Diary 02/02/2017

I took a chance on the break in the weather this morning and arrived at Strumble just as it tipped over the top of the tide. A small amount of tide race still visible and the wind increasing seemingly by the minute. First sighting was of a group of four porps just off to the NW which stayed around for ten minutes or so followed up by sporadic sightings over the following two hours. Nice to see another mother/calf pair just before I closed the session.

Cliff would have loved that one for the aquarium I'm sure

Mother/calf and below.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Strumble and Breakwater diary 31/1/17

A quick look on the breakwater with Wdig birder had a feathery welcome home for him in the shape of a 1st winter Glaucus gull, I was pretty chuffed as well. On the finny side one or two porps were showing under half a dozen Gannets in the distance off Pen Anglais. Not quite so far away but still too distant to get a shot in the murky conditions was a mother and small calf, I am hoping we might get another chance of them today! We went on to Strumble and found the tide ebbing strongly past the lighthouse. Ken had drawn a blank earlier so we thought it might be worth a look. From the bottom lighthouse car park we got glimpses of several distant porpoises feeding beyond the lighthouse between the two islands!

Glaucus Gull

Sunday, 29 January 2017

29/1/17 Follow On.

I think Cliff described the conditions and sightings perfectly below so I'll spare you my spiel. However,  I will say that after the poor sightings of late it was good to see or be able to see a better number of porps about. Shame about the poor light though. Two separate mother/calf pairings and a damaged fin for the records makes a nice change from coming home with barely a record.

Mother/calf close together

2nd mother/calf pairing

I feel I've seen this one before.

Strumble Diary 29/1/17....Striking gold in the gloom

The forecast was for rain but when I woke up it was overcast but  still not raining I gave Ken a bell and by 9:30 we were at Strumble as the tide began to ebb. To the east and distant, a dozen or so gannets were feeding but too far to see if the porpoises were with them.

In front of us were several eddies where the tide was not really making yet. Intermittently odd porpoises surfaced a couple of times and then frustratingly disappeared below the waves again, chilling in the slack currents. Getting shots of them was really challenging, as their surfacings were so random. At one point four together  and we were pretty sure they included a mother and calf.

The weather since Christmas with north easterlies had messed up our attempts to get images. Some days we were seeing animals but with the onshore piling up the waves towards us, getting decent shots was unproductive. They either appear momentarily on top of a wave or disappear in the troughs.

It was early in the tide and the Gannets had moved out of sight. Every now and again we managed to get a shot and  confirmed the mother and calf . She was feeding in the eddies, separating and  leaving the calf as she dived deep among the weed and gullies, as she surfaced the calf chased after her clearly unable to keep up.

The  rain at first a drizzle, began to impinge on the light. I concentrated on spotting for ken hearing his canon rattle away hopefully getting shots after a while a closer sighting and what was yet another mother and calf showed up,  It was a nice reward for our persistence in less than perfect conditions, But better still Ken let out a whoop as he checked out his screen and confirmed a porpoise with a nick in its fin! I will put up a few of my inferior efforts as an appetizer!

mother followed by calf

closer view

Is there a nick in this fin?

Another mother and calf...

So given the circumstances, our midwinter porpoise watch in the gloom struck gold in the shape of two mothers and calves and at least one identifiable individual! Over to you Ken!