Thursday, 26 July 2012

At Last a Wildcat day !

Happy but exhausted describe my current situation pretty well after at last hitting a brief weather window on our Wildcat schedule., We set out in sunny conditions with a light North westerly just beginning to ripple the water as we edged our way through the Haven.

As usual we delayed deciding the final route of our survey until we got out of the haven and could match up the forecast with the prevailing conditions . For those who decide routes well in advance the fog that would have made a mockery of our initial plan was avoided using Plan B.

This included a quick look at Skomer's southern side which rewarded us with lots of late puffins and at least a dozen Porpoises of which we got one spectacular view of a mother and calf within five metres of the boat.

On to Grassholm with another porpoise and calf on the way and the gannet colony which looked to have not so many chicks but birds on nests which might mean rained out birds having a second attempt.

Heading off from Grassholm towards the Smalls and a faster RHIB in front of us slowed to a standstill. We also stopped and waited when a large mottled grey animal swirled under our bow and then moments later at least three perhaps more Risso's surfaced making off away . We sat in the hope they might return but they just kept on moving and we decided to let them go. And on to the smalls and several thousand feeding Manx Shearwaters along with auks Kitties and Fulmars were feeding in the tide rip. We moved on North West with the Northwesterly breeze freshening splashing we observers as we made our way out into 120+ meters of water. Our first pod of Common Dolphins materialised in the spray and white water being built by wind and tide, but a thrill to most of our people .

We continued in the area for a while copping more Common dolphins before turning for home, in the direction of Skokholm, another pod of 25+ joined us giving great views as they came in to surf our bow. And another and then Skokholm and loads of Seals and puffins around South Bay. We returned through the now choppy Haven, a happy bunch of people for whom each had an exceptional day out whatever our level of experience! Click on the dolphin for more pics from the trip.

Some of Cristina's video!