Monday, 21 January 2013

Discussion! and Diary

Hi Cliff
Just a comment on your recent blog.
Bird ringing has shown that many of our breeding resident species move south for the winter only to be replaced by individuals of the same species from Scandinavia, Scotland etc.
You don't know if your winter porps are Scottish individuals while your summer individuals are in France or Biscay.
What you need are stranded or dead porps so that DNA can work its wonders and the money for the DNA. Does Rod Penrose get involved with that kind of stuff?
Steve Rosser ...

Yep Steve,  if only we could catch and ring porp’s as easily as we can birds. The trauma involved might well give unreliable results, possibly like one individual porpoise that was caught in a herring trap in Nova Scotia (by accident ) had three holes drilled in its dorsal (by vet under local anaesthetic) to which an electronic tracker was attached and then  released. It  shot off in a straight line for 300 miles! So would I!!!

I have tried to get some support for DNA work on stranded dead Common Dolphins, which would be so easy and potentially extremely productive but all I get is politics, and red tape.

It’s really possible that our Porpoises could come from anywhere at any time, but that’s not the point I am trying to make. The point is that Strumble has unusually high numbers of Porpoises month in month out and has had them since anyone can remember . Whether they are resident , semi resident or constantly mobile over a greater or lesser area, the fact is that we see them there all year round in large numbers and breeding. As such nobody in their right minds with the slightest knowledge of porpoises could deny that they meet all the criteria set down in the Habitats and Species Directive for special protection.

People who have had the ear of government have ignored this fact and to a degree we have not pursued it as strongly as we should. This year we are going to present our case with scientifically collected evidence and robust arguments that if still ignored in Wales and the UK we will take to Europe. At the end of the day Sea Trust is on a mission, which is to ensure that that people can come here in 100 years time and still be amazed by the incredible wealth of our marine wildlife, and show their Grandchildren loads of porpoises at Strumble as I have and do!

Speaking of which a couple of sessions yesterday with Porpoises seen throughout, but again, generally not easy to see.  Of interest was one largish group of about 15-20 porp's wich seemed to be playing follow my leader for a while and then just kind of dithering before going for another bit of a cruise. They were still doing it as I left in the fading light. Hannah has edited some footage which shows one individual cruising by yesterday morning showing rather nicely his/her  blunt head and pale sides. Another bit of video with the largish group just dithereing about, again apologies for grainy video but all this is about half a mile away or more...  Click Counts averaged  21 sightings per hour in the morning and  36.6  in the afternoon. The sightings average is not the number of animals present,  just the number of sightings whilst doing scans over a 5 minute period repeated at quarter hours. Noner the less I rekon It would probably work out as a fair estimate of numbers present at the time, say 25-35 animals!