Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cardigan Bay Bottlenoses

From Xavier Bellerson:-

Hi! Someone spoke to me the other day about the Whales in Wales blog so decided to take a peek today, as well as submit a sighting.
It was a day of calm seas, warm weather, and sunburn today.  Sailing around Cardigan Bay today the waters were quiet, the only marine mammals we thought we'd see for this particular trip were the heavily pregnant seals hauled out on the rocks towards Trwyn Crou. However on the return leg of the trip, just before we were due to turn into the harbour, a single adult bottlenose dolphin was seen leaping out of the sea approximately 300m from the boat. This of course delighted those on the trip as well as the researcher, providing a lovely end to an otherwise very quiet trip.
Our luck improved when sitting on the harbour wall in New Quay lead to spotting a small group of bottlenose dolphins who were causing a lot of commotion at the water surface approximately 900m from New Quay harbour. Appearing to consist of three adult bottlenose dolphins the animals spent at least 45 minutes taking some spectacular leaps out of the water, one or two seeming to belly flop rather than dive, with at least one individual seen to be throwing fish into the air fairly frequently. A similar sized group were spotted sporadically last week in this same area exhibiting these behaviours leading to a tentative assumption that they may be the same animals.  Whether the same or different they were an amazing group to watch, I only hope they return for the boat survey that will be carried out tomorrow afternoon which should allow us the opportunity to do a bit of photo identification onboard the Sulaire. This rambunctious group were not the only bottlenose dolphins spotted this afternoon, a definite trio consisting of two adults and a calf whose foetal folds were still prominent, were seen milling around the cardinal buoy, presumably making long foraging dives. The calf was a constant source of amusement as it rolled on the surface, leaping and splashing whilst the two adults calmly made their dives. This particular encounter was short lived as following an encounter with a speedboat this group steadily made their way North.
 Xavier Bellerson