Monday, 29 August 2016

Risso's Return (in style)

An early evening visit to Strumble about an hour after high water with a reasonably calm sea produced little in the way of porpoises to begin with. But as I scanned around with my bins' a distant splash caught my eye!

When I say distant I mean 2+ miles away. I first saw some surface surging with lots of spray being kicked up by what I first took to be  several fast moving Common Dolphins but somehow it looked wrong!

As one breached it looked too big and a large hooked fin seemed to be the main feature but it was very distant and a split second view, Risso's?

I decided to try and get some shots despite the distance. The activity in the group of what seemed to be around half a dozen animals was really hectic and although the views were fleeting I became more and more convinced they were Risso's. And more breaching followed with some really frenzied activity which seemed to be social behaviour rather than just feeding...

At those kind of distances with the naked eye or even binoculars its hard to be sure whats going on but as a shore based observation you can be sure you are not in any way interfering with or modifying their activity, they were acting totally naturally!
Having downloaded my shots its pretty obvious they were indeed Risso's although their behaviour had me wondering to begin with! 

They are our first since early May and despite the distance I think my shots will give an idea of their wonderfully  exuberant behavior!  So, within the space of a week and within about five miles, we have sighted three species of Dolphin as well as Porpoises and Grey Seals. Over the way in Ceredigion they refer to their "Big Three"  species which include Porpoise, Bottlenose Dolphins and Grey Seal.
It seems on that basis we have a "Big Five species"  regularly  seen around the  North Pembrokeshire coast, with on odd odd bods such as Minke Whale, Fin Whale or even Orca or Humpback!