Friday, 28 October 2011

Last chance for October

Images: Steve Rosser
It seems difficult to believe but there has hardly been a day of calm weather suitable for a Stena Survey since the beginning of September. In past years these months have provided some of our best and most enjoyable surveys with loads of cetacean sightings and plenty of birding interest as well
We just scraped a survey yesterday and today, conditions far from perfect but do-able.
Yesterday after leaving Strumble the sea got up to Sea State 3-4 , and only calmed down as we approached the Tusker. A low sun made life difficult and some small cetaceans on our bow but in the glare remain unidentified. Some very distant huge splashes  a few miles off the Irish coast could just be verified as a breaching Risso, but we couldnt find it again as we got closer to the place we last saw it, extremely frustrating!!!
Today dawned calm as we awoke in Rosslare Harbour. Frustration again as several mixed feeding flocks of birds failed to show any cetaceans but as we left the Tusker in our wake a small group of Common Dolphins were milling around ahead of us, only  to be lost in the glare as we approached, aaaargh!
Thankfully I located a distant but active pod of about twenty  further on, they gave nice if not close views. The conditions were quite calm and we spotted another very distant group which I got in the 'scope and confirmed them as another group of about ten commons.
Things went quiet as it often does in the middle stages but about seven miles off Strumble, we started to see odd porpoises every few minutes ending up with a total of fourteen sightings of three species over our two  combined  surveys. Worth doing and we had some nice bird sightings,but I hate to think what we missed especially as the crew spoke of large blows seen on both Tuesday and Wednesday about 15 miles off Strumble....