Monday, 21 June 2010

Cartlett Lady Small Boat Survey

The Cartlet Lady's luck held good for the second time this month when our survey team accompanied by 10 lucky paying guests (real eco tourism) had a fantastic day.

We started off with a bit of a choppy sea left over from the previous days northerlies but we took a little shelter and watched the breeding seabirds firstly around skomers southern coast and then out to Grassholm to take in the awe inspiring spectacle of forty odd thousand pairs of breeding Gannets. The seabird spectacular continued with a feeding flock of several hundred Manx Shearwaters just off the Smalls Lighthouse.
As we continued in a wide sweep south, the sea flattend and the sun shone. For the next four glorious hours we had continual encounters with Common Dolphins in various sized groups ranging from eight to eighty with a minimum estimate of 247 individuals logged.

The dolphin behaviour was interesting, with some animals seeming to prefering to keep their distance (which we respected ), whilst others came leaping in to bowride giving all our company great opportunities for close up photography. Several of the females looked heavily pregnant and although there were quite a few of last years youngsters, we saw only one recently born calf. This is a little unusual but may reflect the lower than average water temperatures for this time of the year . It will be interesting to see if more calves are born in the coming weeks.
Top Photo' is one of mine (with the lense hood skewiff ), with one of  Richard Crossen's below. See more pics from the trip by clicking  here
If you would like to support us in our work byaccompanying us on a boat survey and making a donation to the cost of boat hire, see the top right hand corner of the blog for details of boat trips.