Saturday, 19 April 2014

From Richard Stonier,
6 Risso's Dolphin cruising slowly past Mackerel Rock at 1630 - very close in and easy to see with binoculars.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Strumble porps

H came in to tell us he'd seen just 1 single porp at Strumble this afternoon, but had been speaking to a couple who'd seen 3 earlier

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Porpoises around Pembs

From Phil Lees...
I was back in Porthgain again at around 7pm last night to pick up my other half after gig rowing practice. I manage 15 minutes or so watching from from the end of the Central Quay and there were 2-3 porps showing really well in the calm sea about 500 metres from the harbour entrance. They were foraging around one of the large orange buoys out there with a wonderful backdrop of hundreds of Manxies returning to the islands.

From Rhi Till...
Was up in Tresaith yesterday and was told a porp had been washed up on beach earlier . Sad news, authorities came to take away.

From Ian Hotchin...
2 porpoises seen near Carregwastad Point from the boat this afternoon, one was seen to tail slap the water about 6 or 8 times. Both adults.

From H...
Couple of porps for you. A pair at Mwnt, traditionally bottlenose territory. Tonight at approx. 7pm

From us...
This morning we went to Ramsey Sound where we watched at least 9 individuals pass through the Sound with the ebbing tide, to the South, most of which were foraging with gannets overhead. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

From Phil Lees...

It seems a while since I last saw a porpoise, Strumble back in mid January, and a very long time seeing a Porthgain Porp.  But on Friday evening, with the lure of sunshine, a calm sea and chips from The Shed I spent half an hour at the Beacon before wandering off to watch the peregrines. Within minutes of arriving I spotted a couple of porps and they and others continued to forage directly off the harbour around 500m to a kilometre out, for the half hour I was there. At least 4 possibly 6 but difficult to say as they were fairly dispersed.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Monday porpoise watch

Risso's in Residence?

Another successful Razorbill sea safari yesterday with both Porpoises and Risso's Dolphin's recorded. They tend to be a little boat shy so a good distance was maintained but  they surfaced close to the boat when it was stationary.  Dan seemed to think there were at least four adults and a juvenile.
Our fishermen friends tell me they have been quite unconcerned around their boats over the past few weeks so hopefully so long as nobody goes chasing them they will hang around a bit longer!
Please be warned it is an offence to harass dolphins and we are often watching from the breakwater.We have camera's capable of taking pic's at long range and will not hesitate to report any vessel seen harassing them.  If you do encounter dolphins steer a steady course,  If they come to you its best to stop engines or decrease speed to a slow walking pace, do not under any circumstances chase them.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

First this year for Karen in Aberyswyth!

Karen Burns

20:42 (16 hours ago)
to me

I had my first sighting of 2014 by the stone jetty at Aberystwyth this lunchtime. Thought I should share the picture. 


Its always great to hear from Karen and anyone else who has info on our cetaceans, Thanks Karen!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Breakwater porpoises

An early evening visit to the outer breakwater with Steve Davies paid off with some reasonably close Porpoise action. Steve spotted one first which patrolled about 100 metres off the breakwater in the random way they do meaning I got many more shots of the sea than of the porp. As we watched two more moved into the vicinity but kept a distance from each other and the original animal.
Sadly we couldn't stay to see if any interaction developed but they must have been aware of each other acoustically...

Link to footage -

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Risso's remain

Risso's off Strumble:  Copyright Aaron John Photography

After getting back to our Ocean Lab base and sorting a few things out yesterday, John, Joel and self went on to the outer breakwater to see if the Risso's were still about. We took a couple of telescopes  onto the outer breakwater we soon located some large fins over towards where we had seen them from the ship. 

Most cetaceans are difficult to count but Risso's are really difficult to track and count. They tend to travel in loose groups, often several hundred metres apart. (and at least around here) generally some distance offshore. Submerging for several minutes at a time they can pop up anywhere within half a mile or so of where you saw them last sometimes splitting up sometimes grouping together. This was the case with the ones we saw yesterday, we had at least five in one group and several sightings of singles or pairs. I would guess we had between six and ten in front of us during the time they were visible before they seemed to head off with the tide to the west. 

Local Fisherman Roger Clark tells me he has seen them around since before the beginning of March and given the stormy weather could have been around longer without being seen. We know that squid come here to lay their eggs because Roger and the other fishermen find them attached to their pot ropes from around November into the early spring. Squid are supposed to be the main prey of Risso's so it figures they would come here as well . As such they should be protected by European Law.     

Friday, 4 April 2014

Ten Years After...

Today the fourth of April was the tenth anniversary of our first Stena Europe cetacean surveys. I remember it well, the absolute privilege of being allowed up on the bridge of this fantastic vessel, was a dream come true. A forward view is the only way to perform proper surveys, too much would be missed from the stern or the sides.

Over these ten years I have safely crossed the Irish sea aboard the Stena Europe hundreds of times, seen thousands of Dolphins, dozens of Whales and porpoises a plenty. We have worked with hundreds of fantastic volunteers and laughed and joked with our Stena shipmates! We have been incredibly lucky and had so much help and kindness from everyone at Stena both onshore and aboard the ship. Particular thanks to Carl Milne who set us up on her to begin with. 

The Senior Master who allowed us onto his bridge was Captain David Farrell a man with a dry sense of humour, an old school master mariner, strict but fair. Much the same as his successor Captain Colm Clare.

Captain Farrell, like several others has retired but others, old mates like Rush, Bob and Charlie were still on the bridge today. It would be easy to go on, I could write a book and maybe will one day, but what we will definitely be writing will be a report based on our ten years of month by month surveys. We hope to get it finished by the end of the summer and I think it will be a uniquely comprehensive account.

Ten years ago we got off to a great start with Porp's, Common dolphins and a couple of Minke's and it just went on getting better and better with more Risso's in fact more of everything than we ever dared to expect. To date we have recorded Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales, Common Risso's and Bottlenose Dolphins as well as our ever present Porpoises.

Anyway enough of the history. We set off yesterday with a few drops of rain which soon passed, on a flat calm sea (SS1). Porpoise sighting followed porpoise sighting then a couple of Common Dolphins, some more porp's, a brief glimpse of a Minke Whale and more porp's as we passed the Tusker and on into Rosslare Harbour, an amazing forty sightings in all!Not bad in a crossing that is less then three and a half hours!

Today's return trip from Rosslare started sadly with only four black guillemots in the harbour. It seems like they really were hammered by the winter storms.Usually at this time of the year there would be around fifteen pairs all displaying and full of the joys of spring. We will see what we will see as the weeks pass but it doesn't look good.
Clearing the harbour the sea was calm (SS2) The porpoise and common dolphin sightings were still not as frenetic as yesterday but we still managed another 33 which included as a grand finale two small pods of Risso's in Fishguard Bay just before we entered the Harbour! Our crack team;Elfyn Pugh Dave Cunnife Peter Boyle and Hannah Harries did a fantastic job and we were all pretty exhausted at the end but well satisfied with our rewards. Sadly we did notget much in the way of Pic's (Where was RC when we needed him!) 

Bird-wise it was pretty good with two cracking summer plumage med gulls in Fishguard  Harbour,  a Red Throated Diver on our bow as we headed out into the bay. A few manxies several puffins first swallows and sandwich terns feeding off Rosslare Harbour! 

Team Sea Trust : HH, EP,DC&PB.


73 sightings
65 of porpoise
4 of common dolphin
2 of Risso's dolphin
1 of Minke whale
1 unidentified dolphin species

142 individual animals
110 porpoises
18 common dolphins
5 Risso's dolphins
1 Minke whale
8 unidentified dolphin species