Monday, 28 September 2009

More Risso's than you could shake a camera at....

A weekend of fantastic sightings from the ferry and then a hastily arranged small boat survey has continued to produce some incredible Risso's records. We hoped to take the Cartlett Lady out but pressing family commitments for our skipper Andy had put the mockers on it. A call on Saturday evening saying the trip was back on gave us little time to get a crew together but on Sunday Morning nine of us joined Andy and Brian in Neyland for yet another incredible cetacean survey.
And what a trip, a couple of hours out and not far from where we had contacted Risso's on the Stena Europe we chanced upon a pod estimated as 16-20 comprising of at least 3 small calves, and a mixed family(?) group of all ages including a monster pale grey specimen. We gently approached continuing our course and then stopped to see what would happen. The Risso's seemed unconcerned and we got good film and pictures as they passed by. Interestingly one of the calves was dark and when it first surfaced we thought it was a porpoise but on a side view soon resolved itself into a tiny Risso-let. there seemed to be at least one other dark one and a white one, which helps to uphold my contention that Risso's can be pale or dark phase.
We let them go on thier way and watched them dissapear before making our way.
In the prevailing calm overcast conditions, we encountered multiple Common Dolphin and Porpoise sightings but the Risso's were most certainly the stars. Click photo for larger image (hopefully more to come)!