Friday, 12 February 2010

February sea temperature 8C and Commons in Welsh waters

February and another Stena Europe/ Sea Trust Ferry Survey. Its cold out there and another unreliable forcast had us surveying in less than optimum conditions with sea state up between 3-5, although visibility good.
Elfyn Pugh took up my last minute offer of a place on the Stena Europes bridge wings and he opened the score with a porpoise just outside the harbour at Fishguard, I clocked another off Strumble and despite the intense cold we manged to keep the watch going, enjoying Fulmars and Auks until light stopped play about five miles outside of Rosslaire Harbour.
Coming back this morning thousands of sea birds were feeding in the inshore waters off Rosslaire but just too distant to make out whatever cetaceans were feeding beneath. I copped one porp and Elfyn another two, also one mid channel.
Elfyn really earned his place as one of Wales best cetacean observers, as I went into the warmth of the Stena Europes bridge to get us some tea. He waved and shouted recalling me to the bridge wings just in time to see a small pod of Common Dolphins racing into our bows.
A couple more porps near Strumble finished the score making the trip extremely worthwhile.
Interestingly Adrian Rogers who had been birding at Strumble earlier rang to say that he had seen some porps at Strumble earlier, which given their scarcity recently, was a bit of good news!
It seems we are learning more with each years succesive surveys, showing the value of long term regular monitoring. Thanks to Stena Line for allowing us to do so, and the support and friendship of all the ships crew shore staff, allthingsgood, cliff