Monday, 19 March 2012

Porp sightings just keep getting better!

Martin Thomas 21:36 (12 hours ago)

18th March 4pm, Swansea standing on the headland between bracelet bay and limeslade bay to the right hand side of the life guard station looking out into the Bristol channel.   Spotted a small pod of 5 – 6 Porpoise.  Just like small black dolphins surfacing slowly, an Incredible 100 meters or so off shore. I grew up here have surfed all over Gower but have never seen a site like it before? Not sure if they come in this close in normally?

Their surfacing was quite slow just slipping up every 2 of 3 mins, generally one after another, then quiet for a minute.   They stayed in the same area just of shore for a good half an hour. The tide was in, the water very calm. They kept circling around in the same area just off shore.  One adult was slightly smaller than some of the others and would surface together with another smaller dorsal fin in synchrony. Which I assumed was a mother and infant.  Wonderful to see them up so close kids were thrilled. 

Saw Phils mail below from the 5th March and will take a camera to catch them next time. Martin, Sara, Jacob and Riley Thomas.

Hi Gang, really nicely described observations here! and interesting that porps are so prevalent all around Wales at the moment. The amazing thing is that although Porpoises are by far the most commonly seen ceatacean around our shores we really do not know a great deal about them. I have been watching them for years but still find it impossible to really work out what tyey are up to.  Its incredibly difficult  working out what they are actually doing or even counting them accurately. Mostly its down to food so if the food is close to the shore its likely they will follow it in. You say "One adult was slightly smaller than some of the others and would surface together with another smaller dorsal fin in synchrony." A classic mother and small calf sighting but generally speaking females are larger than males. Its always difficult to judge sizes in the field. Sometimes we see what appear to be a mother with a smaller yearling and a small calf but usually the larger mother and calf would be close with the juvenile hanging around less close. Its interesting to conjecture what the group dynamic was but there may be a little nugget in here that some time in the future adds a small piece to the jigsaw. Well done and good luck with your sightings in the future, would love to see any pic's you get!