Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Another day, same place different dolphins

I was surprised to get a call from Karin Clarke who told me there were two dolphins, a mother and calf in Fishguard Harbour near Fisherman's Quay. My heart sank as it sounded like it would be lost common dolphins rather than our usual Bottles which usually stay safe in the deeper water.

I went out to look for them with my binoculars but could not see them in the area described as I searched a man ran by slightly out of breath but intent on keeping running croaked "Dolphin's and pointed in the vague direction of the quay. I still could not find them so decided to go out onto the outer breakwater and see if I could see them from there.

I had just opened the gate to get onto the breakwater when I noticed them close in near the life boat pen, In the past I have had to wade in and try and scare them back out to deeper water for fear of them stranding. I watched and photographed them, they seemed confused and uncertain of their bearings, which as they are usually found out to sea in deeper water was not so surprising. 

Thankfully, as low water was almost on us, they were in deeper water safe enough, at least until the next low tide. Hopefully they will get out during the night. The mother had a slightly disfigured fin so we should be able to recognise her if we get close enough again... 
I will be extremely happy not to see them again!

Different Days, Same Dolphins! Its the Apache and Ringo show!

Louise and I had almost given up on our Sea Trust Dolphin Watch. Gannets searched as hard as us for Apache and Ringo or any other of the dolphins that have been turning up regularly off Fishguard Harbour mouth since the spring. We were just walking back to the car when a gannet swooped nearby and Louise let out a whoop! They (Apache & Ringo) had sneaked up on us and were almost under our noses! We had some really nice views, unfortunately I had forgotten my camera so I cant show you any except this one I made earlier!

Despite gloomy damp weather, Apache, Ringo and another unidentified dolphin were hanging around the Harbour mouth yesterday afternoon giving quite good views

Friday, 19 August 2016

Pembrokeshire Pelagic

I joined the Mid Pembs and Pembrokeshire Bird Group Pelagic aboard the Celtic Wildcat yesterday on a rare day of calm conditions out at sea. Although a bit choppy on the way out once past Grassholm the sea calmed down and further out it was like the proverbial mill pond. Grassholm provided the usual spectacular wildlife spectacle with c.40000 pairs plus young. Interesting to see a few of the first Gannet youngsters on the sea looking bewildered.

Common Dolphins were encountered in pods of varying sizes - probably 120 plus and 6 Porpoises were seen between Skokholm and St Ann's Head on the way back in. One of the Dolphins had a large chunk out of it's Dorsal Fin.

Plenty of birds seen too - see Pembrokeshire Birds for details.

Click on the photo above to link to a gallery of some of the day's highlights. The Dolphins are at the end.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Dolphin disaster narrowly averted

A certain Mr Richard Nichols belled me this evening saying there were "Lots of Dolphins in the harbour" What actually in the harbour?"  I asked Yep was R's reply It gave me a bit of a nasty feeling. The last time we had lots of dolphins in the harbour they were Commons and in danger of getting stranded as the tide ebbed and the harbour largely dried out.

We got there and it was soon evident that Richard was right still lots of Dolphins in the harbour and yes also they looked like commons which was potentially a problem, Our Bottles know their way around but the Commons have no real comprehension of shallow enclosed waters. I head a loud engine approaching the harbour and my heart sank it was a Jet-Ski! If it kept coming at high speed there was a danger it would spook the commons further into the harbour maybe resulting in a stranding. Helpless I watched as the Jet ski ploughed straight through them  at at least thirty knots oblivious to the dolphins

 Happily by complete fluke it  had the opposite affect spooking them back out of the harbour at speed!

We counted around thirty as they left the harbour some juveniles and calves obvious in the pod So a happy ending and tanks to Richard for alerting us and thanks to the Jet-ski who probably never saw a single dolphin but inadvertently scared them out the right way,although it might have just as possibly resulted in a panic stranding.

Thankfully a happy ending and yet another amazing chapter in the story of the Dolphin Coast!

From Lizzie Harrison up North, Risso's

Yesterday we were sailing from Barmouth to Anglesey. When we were halfway between Bardsey Island and Rhosneigr (Anglesey), we sighted around 4-5 Risso's Dolphins. They came very close to our yacht, and spent a few minutes swimming under and alongside us. I have some photographs which I can send you. Is there any further information you would like?

Wow! well spotted and identified Lizzie they are seen reasonably frequently in the Irish sea but not many people recognise them. It must have been quite thrilling having these big babies coming close up and personal!  

Monday, 15 August 2016

New Dolphins in Fishguard Bay!

Pretty sure we have one new dolphin if not two today on our Dolphin Watch. we were joined by Bronwen and Owen along with their grandparents Andrew and Patricia out on the breakwater today

Patricia, Andrew Bronwen (legs) Anna, Owen and Santi' watching dolphins...

Thankfully after a couple of misses we had some incredible views today, perhaps as many as five animals, none of which seemed to be Apache and Ringo or Trio. I love the fact people seem to be able to count dolphins I am never sure. None the less from my photo's there seem to have been at least four including one very small calf.
Apparently a new mother and  (v.small) calf pair.

 small calf with fetal folds
There were at least two other seemingly unmarked Dolphins accompanying the mother and calf possibly also new faces although i concentrated on the mother and calf so this was yje only decent shot i had of them!

A really nice little session and good to be sharing it with some local people!

Sightings of Dolphins Porpoises and Bottles yesterday...

I set up Dutch volunteer Stefanie and her companion Mano watching off the breakwater in the morning and they saw our dolphins following a boat out of the harbour heading North.

Later I relieved them and had a fascinating half hour watching a couple of porpoises enter and then a few minutes later, leave the harbour mouth. A big dark bull  Grey Seal also appeared a little later, a bit of a bruiser by the look of him!

From Michael Tyle...

12th August in the lea (to the east) of St. Govans Head saw at least 2, possibly 3, porpoises. Must have been feeding as they were there for over an hour (around 5pm). There was definitely one adult and a juvenile - I have some photos. They were on the surface for 2-3 'breaths' then disappeared for a minute or so. There was a grey seal in the water at the same time. Are you interested in the photos? How can I send them?

Michael Tyle

Thanks for this Michael ! Nice Photon of a female and small calf.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Celtic Deep

I was lucky enough to be offered the last place on a Skomer Island staff evening cruise to the Celtic Deep on the Dale Nelson. We left Martins Haven at about 4.30 and had a couple of porpoise off Jack Sound before picking up the bulk of the passengers. We had common dolphin not far off Skomer as we headed just south of Grassholm but we could not stop to play because we heading for deeper waters. We passed a number of other small pods on commons as we proceeded offshore and eventually arrived at our destination. A likely area containing common dolphins, gannets and a few storm petrels. Jason and Leighon then had the pleasure of opening the bucket of foul smelling chum to entice the wildlife. It acted like a magnet to  Storm Petrels. We had loads behind the boat as we slowly motored around. Unfortunately we saw no whales nor any sign of the 250 pounds blue finned tuna that had been caught and released out there the day before. Other birds included sooty shearwater and great skua. We got back to Martins Haven through rafts of manx shearwaters at 9.30 via Skomer. All in all a very pleasant cruise.

Steve Rosser

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Superb cetaceans of Skokholm

 Have a look at the Skokholm blog


  23 Common inc 1 calf.
5 Risso's , pics on Skokholm blog. Thanks for this Adrian!