Saturday, 19 September 2009

Strictly Come Dolphins

After 2 weeks of a very welcome Indian Summer would the weather hold for the Sea Trust survey boat trip on 19 September?
The day broke cloudy and damp, and as The Celtic Wildcat moved up Milford Haven it was pretty chilly. But miraculously as we came out into the open sea the weather improved and it steadily turned into a warm, sunny day. The first 2 hours of the trip were pretty quiet - very few seabirds (as there were to be throughout the day) and just a glimpse of 3 unidentified cetaceans close to Freshwater West.
The aim of the day was to survey an area into the Bristol Channel midway out towards Lundy and once we started to see Common Dolphins at around 11:30 we had a steady procession of them coming in close to the boat and riding in the bow wave - not so much a case of finding the Dolphins as them finding us! In all we saw just over 120 Common Dolphins in a number of relatively small groups - the biggest 20 or so animals. Mostly adults but a number of juveniles and a few young calfs. Wonderful to see such enigmatic creatures so close to the Pembrokeshire coast - as the photo shows, with St Govan's in the background (click photo for larger image). A good day was had by all - many thanks to Nick O'Sullivan the skipper of the Celtic Wildcat, to Sea Trust and to all the participants for their help in spotting the Dolphins and making the day a memorable one. Click here for more photos from the day.