Saturday, 17 October 2009

Bristol Channel Dolphin Bonanza!

With a glorious day in prospect the chance to do a Sea Trust survey in the Bristol Channel was too good an opportunity to miss. We set off this morning and for the first couple of hours, as we headed in the general direction of Lundy, found the sea unexpectedly lumpy, caused by a fresh breeze overnight. This did not interfere with our sightings, however, as when we headed over towards a fishing vessel to check whether anything was following it we quickly saw a good sized pod of 50 or so Common Dolphins. These came over to the boat and almost every adult had a calf with it.
The sea eased off during the day and we continually encountered new pods of Dolphins - mainly adults but also good numbers of juveniles and calfs. Many were seen with the splendid backdrop of the Pembrokeshire coast around the Castlemartin area. The final grand total was 1200 Common Dolphins, of which 200 were juveniles and 111 calfs - oh and 2 Porpoises. Well done to Miguel for keeping the tally and many thanks to Cliff Benson & Sea Trust for the opportunity to take part in the survey on such a wonderful day. Thanks also to Andy Rickard, skipper of The Cartlett Lady.
The number of animals seen demonstrates the value of such surveys and I am left awestruck at the richness of Pembrokeshire's waters.