Friday, 9 August 2013

Stena survey famine and feast!

Our first survey of August on Wednesday  looked promising although due to the ultra last minute call on volunteers and Hannah being away in London,  it was down to just myself the (Walrus)  and a new volunteer Crispin to undertake the survey. 
It was a little choppy on the first part of the first leg, crossing from Fishguard, but as we progressed further the seas calmed down to a SS2 and yet still nothing was seen. We entered the "Risso's Triangle" with sea state subsiding further to a SS1 but still no sightings and indeed that's how we ended the first leg of the survey with one of the very few blank's we have ever experienced since 2004!
I began to wonder just what we were doing wrong, or if some unknown disaster had befallen one of the most productive cetacean areas in  Europe...
Thursday dawned calm and slightly overcast perfect conditions. A porpoise kicked off the score and then a couple more and then in the "Risso's Triangle", Two sightings of Risso's so normal service was resumed! Things went quiet again for a while and then a couple of porpoise sightings and then our first small pod of common Dolphins about level with the Bishops and Clerks , in Welsh Waters, about half a mile from the ship. They seemed quite shy and slunk away without coming in to see us. 
I am becoming a little concerned by the lack of common Dolphins so far this year, strangely we seemed to see more in the winter. On the way into Strumble on a silky sea more porpoises were seen some with calves and so we ended the second leg of the survey with a respectable 13 sightings of three different species, lucky for some! (click on link below below)  
Film of Risso's from this morning's survey

Distant Risso's by Crispin Broome