Monday, 16 January 2012

Strumble Risso's spectacular!

The day started well when I bumped into local fishermen Rodger Clarke who told me of seeing a pod of about a dozen  Risso's off Abercastle, about ten miles south of Strumble last Friday. Considering the fact that over a twenty five mile stretch of coast, Porpoises, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin and now Risso's were present, I think its pretty fair to call it the Dolphin Coast!
I fed the octopuses in the Ocean Lab and then had a look on the outer breakwater. No cetaceans but there was a nice black guillimot present in the inner harbour almost completely moulted into summer plumage.

It was about 3.45 on the  beautiful crisp winters afternoon, so I headed for Strumble with Freddie (who has just had a knee operation so was sat in the back of the car). We watched Mark Williams in the Briggs  survey vessel "Water Gaurdian" pass by but could not see any porpoises. The inner tiderace was creating some particularly fine overfalls which Freddie pointed out . I took a glance at them and a dolphin appeared in the middle of one about half a mile from the shore, The view was fleetiingly brief and I was not clear as to what I had seen but I thought it was a Risso's . I went down to the lookout with our new fujifilm camera with its 18x optical zoom in the hope of getting some shots ... as you can see I did!

The images are far from perfect but they are undoubtedly of Risso's and I think the first ever from there! Sadly the batteries went flat  and the light was fast fading so although five Risso's were at one point logging together on the surface I could not get any more shots. When I went back up to the car I asked Freddie if she had seen them?
"Oh yes there were at least seven she said, some were tailslapping one seemed too spy hop and a couple breached!" Aaargh, there had been two seperate groups, mine had been relatively restrained and the others had been closer in and doing a circus act! ah well...
So the light faded the Risso's retreated and we headed for home. The light on the answerphone was flashing and there was a message from Stevo Lucas, he thought he had seen some Risso's at Strumble this afternoon at about three o clock with his friend Chris Benbow . He was not sure but they had put on qiuite a show tailslapping and breaching about 15 of them! I think you can add them to your Strumble list now Stevo,  its a just reward for all the time you have spent there!
So Rissos turn up at Strumble again in the middle of the winter. I asked Rodger the fisherman what if he thought there were any squid around? "Oh yes he replied, all our lobster pot ropes are covered in squid eggs"