Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Just for the record!

Hi Cliff

Happy new year - it seems a while since I've reported any sightings but was in luck today at Strumble after a couple of blank visits to the Sound last month and this.

Spent a hour at lunchtime at the Head just as the mist lifted and within a minute of picking up my binoculars I spotted a lone porp foraging 150 metres out. Then I spotted another much closer who was swimming vigorously, porpoising and leaping almost out of the water - great views of head and tail. Then 300 - 400 metres out in a long strip of calmer water there were up to 6 porps foraging in a loose group, again a couple were quite active leaping and porpoising. Elsewhere there were a couple of tight groups of 3 foraging together - presumably mum, juvenile and calf? Given the time lapse between seeing the groups and inviduals, its difficult to say how many there were in total , certainly 12 - 15, possibly more. The best show of porps I have seen for a while so very pleased despite not clocking a Rissos! That will have to wait for another day.
Pob hwyl.
Phil Lees

Hi Phil, Stevo and I had a look yesterday and clocked a few porpoises. Today I was there this afternoon and had an interesting little group of around half a dozen porp's most of which looked like well grown youngsters. This was at high tide when I would generally not expect too much activity there. I could also see a few in the distance towards Fishguard where I would expect them to be.  Its difficult to explain but there is a less defined fin shape and possibly a relatively larger darker  dorsal area to younger animals I think. Do porpoises divide into groups of subadults?  lots of other animals do...  These rather descrete animals although relatively common give little away as to their private lives. The leaping /splashing thing is also interesting because it seems to happen at this time of the year. my suspicion is that its about mothers trying to get rid of well grown young and perhaps some breeding behaviour, fascinating stuff!
Sadly the Risso's have not returned to Strumble... seemingly...

Re Libman (Dave) , It seems quite a lot of the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose Dolphins may move out during the winter months. If so, then Porpoises might well feel safer in areas where they might otherwise be in danger. Th3e frustrating thing is that the hours of daylight are short and often the seas are rough so getting a handle on this is pretty difficult. None the less anecdotal is only a term . If you record the time yopu spend looking and take reasdsonably accurate details of the weather and tide , then it becomes effort related and much more useful especially when we know you are a comptent recorder!