Saturday, 2 October 2010

Re- Bottlenose dolphin and calf

Hi Cliff - It was interesting to read about the bottlenose dolphin and calf that were seen off Pen Anglas by the fisherman because I've been birding at Strumble most mornings this week and I saw a bottlenose and calf foraging just north of mackerel rock last Tuesday (29th) at about 9.30am and again yesterday morning (1st October) at 8.30am. Last Tuesday there was a great deal of cetacean activity at Strumble especially during the incoming flood tide which must have brought in a pretty decent fish delivery! There was a lot of porpoise activity and I even recorded common dolphin in the tide race I don't know how many just a couple perhaps. There was some 'tail slapping' going on beyond the tide race which I reckoned to be dolphin but not sure and when I looked over towards mackerel rock that's when I saw the bottlenose and calf. They were foraging there for some time as indeed they were yesterday too. Then they were gone only to be replaced by foraging porpoise with a calf! (and I thought they didn't get on!). There was an awful lot of gannet activity within the tide race and mackerel rock last Tuesday and of course they led me to the animals. The birding certainly took a back stage role that day as I was just trying to figure out what was going on in the turbulent murky depths. Yesterday morning just after I had seen the bottlenose off mackerel rock I saw a gannet plunge dive in that area and it came up to the surface with a large fish in its bill (bass perhaps?) which it manipulated around to the desired position and then gulped it down head first! So maybe that's what the bottlenose and calf were after. I have a feeling too that this duo may have been foraging in the tide race yesterday as an animal breached a couple of times in the tide race in front of the observation building to a much higher degree than I have seen a porpoise breach.

Incidentally on Thursday the 30th there seemed to be some naval activity in the area again with what appeared to be an 'aircraft carrier'! Way out on the horizon in a SW direction and a hovering lynx helicopter (or similar) in the north of the bay (searching for subs perhaps!).

NB- Thanks for your comments on the bottlenose & calf sighting Cliff I had thought that there was another bottlenose with the duo in fact at one stage I thought that there were two sets of mother and calf bottlenoses but I thought my eyes were playing tricks with me! Anyway I guess its a possibility. As you say Cliff these animals may hang around now that they have found a good food source so others may spot them too. I was wishing (and looking hard) for a Risso all week too to make it a foursome species tally but sadly couldn't achieve that score! My next visit perhaps!