Monday, 8 August 2016

Closer view...

We are pretty fortunate to have Ken Barnett on our volunteer team and his spectacular images really give some astonishing insights. The fish he captured leaping high to avoid being a dolphins supper was subsequently identified as a Grey Mullet. This is the value of good quality photography as what happens in the blink of an eye is captured, a microsecond in time held and allowing closer examination.

Another of Kens  Bottlenose shots I examined  yesterday revealed a new Dolphin with a deformity which makes it look like its wearing a Darth Vader helmet... and will be known as Darth henceforth !

Even more incredible is that Ken is now allowing us to identify individual Porpoises and prove that they too are resident or at least semi resident, as against what the government supported scientists at the Nature Conservancy Council declare them as "Wide ranging and highly mobile and not resident" on its head so as to speak! I would contend that they are probably at least as resident as the Bottlenose Dolphins of Cardigan Bay and the sites where we know them to be particularly numerous and where they have been proved to breed all year round should be given special protection.

This porpoise also "shot" yesterday at Strumble and has had its fin almost entirely severed. It  was first "shot" by Ken back in the winter months! Just why, what or how these smell cetaceans are receiving these injuries remains to be investigated but it is something we only started to see this winter.

Another Porpoise we have recorded "Split fin" a couple of times at Strumble was first Shot by Malcolm Barradell several times  in Ramsay Sound as an adult and also with a calf  back in 2010. Ken recorded "Split-fin" with a calf last week again at Strumble a unique record. This confirms its sex being a female accompanied with a calf and also points to a possible link with the Porpoises that are attracted to the high energy tidal race at Strumble  and those that are also known to populate the similarly high energy tidal flows around the nearby Pembrokeshire Islands.

These high energy tidal flows have been targeted by Tidal Energy  companies who wish to install Tidal Turbines to harvest the power of these exceptionally strong tidal systems. Back in December 2015 Delta Stream installed one in Ramsay Sound and another is being planned for Strumble Head.

Information is hazy about the Delta Stream project but it is rumored that the project is now on hold due to technical and financial problems. If so it will not only have been an immense waste of time and money but also been a potential threat to the integrity of our porpoises feeding grounds.