Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Dutch are watching you porps!

Dear bloggers of Whales in Wales,

Our names are Ben Frederiks and André Dijkstra, we are two Dutch students from Van Hall Larenstein university of applied sciences. We are currently working on an internship at the Ramsey Sound area, our goal is to observe and determine the whereabouts and migrating pattern of Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) through land based observation.

We have been spotting actively in the Ramsey Sound for almost 4 weeks already, and we were amazed by the large amount of activity in the Sound by Porpoises since we don’t get the chance to see them in the Netherlands very often (unless they are beached). Our main spotting zones are near St. David’s head and Penllechwen. In the last week we saw a frequent amount of porpoise gathering and moving in various directions close to St. David’s head, this gave us the opportunity to make some photos of these amazing mammals…Though we experienced that it’s a real sport to catch them on camera in a proper way! The seals instead were much more easy models ;)

Especially the 25th of February was an exciting day, we sat down at St. David’s head and could almost immediately see several (about 5 to 7) porps about 300m away, we think they were foraging because of the various orientation of the animals. There were even some juveniles/calves that stayed close to the adults while surfacing, we weren’t sure about it being juveniles or calves because we haven’t had confirmation on which is which yet. This all was nice to see, but suddenly another creature caught our attention…floating in the area we saw a large unnatural behaving object, it was larger than a porpoise or seal, but not as big as a pilot whale! When we watched it floating towards the southern Bishops we could clearly see what it was…the corpse of a cow! To us this seemed very unnatural, does it happen more often? We guess it felt off a cliff and drowned. Very unfortunate, but it was our sighting of the day!

In upcoming months we will be spotting every week consisting of at least two days St. David’s head and Penllechwen, and if we see interesting things we will let you all know.


André Dijkstra & Ben Frederiks

Hi Andre and Ben, great to hear from you both, you are following in some big footsteps and  Van Halle has sent some really great people here to north Pembrokeshire who have really added to our knowledge under Malcolms guidance. Hope t
o meet up with you both soon, allthingsgood, cliff