Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Latest Stena Europe Survey...

One of four Risso;s seen about twenty miles off Strumble.

Mother and calf  porpoises seen soon after 

Second group of Risso's encountered off Strumble... 

A pod of three..

including mother and calf.
Pic's :Dai Powell
The conditions for our Stena Europe trip were not so bad as we got out of the tide and sea breeze off Fishguard Bay and Strumble Head. None the less the outward trip was a dead loss with only a couple of Porpoise sightings off Strumble and surprisingly nothing in the Risso's Triangle. There were however, thousands of terns, auks and manxies .mainly inshore of the Tusker.

The return leg was calmer still but with a lot of glare making the forwards viewing difficult. The big tides caused a long tidal front just off the Tusker with lots of gannets spread out and odd porpoises hardly visible in the chop and glare. It seems likely that there were quite a few but I only managed to spot a couple. Soon after Dave spotted a very distant unidentified cetacean breach, again not very satisfactory As we progressed it began to get a bit hazy and the breeze dropped to almost nothing. The glare reduced but so did the visibility, down to a couple of miles at one point We stared long and hard but it was not until we were well into Welsh waters.that we picked up another Porpoise and then a group of at least four Risso's. soon after a couple of Common Dolphins were spotted by the crew on our bows!

At last things were beginning to look up and from then on we started getting more sightings, highlights being a distant pod of at least twenty Common dolphins with at least one calf feeding under 30+ gannets out towards Pen Brush. Captain Colm Clare came out to point out a group of three Risso's we had also just spotted, two adults and a calf as we passed by the Strumble Lookout. Several more Porpoise sightings swelled the total to 22 with seven Risso's and twenty odd Common dolphins (+1 unidentified) a vast improvement on yesterday’s measly total of two Porpoises! The odd thing is that although the Irish side has usually turned up the goods in recent months its underperforming. It’s probably just a blip but it will be interesting to see if it continues...