Sunday, 4 December 2016

Historic Day For Strumble Porp Watching

It's been a roller coaster ride this past two years since I started taking images for Sea Trust. We've brought the quality of data collected to new levels with fin ID and a look into the social side of the Porpoise. Every time we get something new I now get as excited as Cliff. Time and again we've disproved some of the written texts on porpoise behaviour and now we've done it again. Cliff set me a challenge a couple of weeks ago to get definitive proof that breeding was taking place at Strumble and to encourage me showed me what it was I should be looking for. I'll spare you the detail,  suffice to say male porps are well equiped for the job. So it was then that today despite the poor start to the session with very choppy conditions and the porps there but not showing well that we set about a click count. Cliff, Brad and myself struggled to get into double figures and ended the count with an average of around six which compared to the recent days was very poor. Cliff and Brad then went and I was left to finish the session.
   A short while later a few groups appeared with a lot of dash and splash but still not showing too well. I spotted a porp off to my left and followed it in the lens to see another porp approach it from it's left. It shadowed it a while before moving in very close and seemingly lunging at it at which point the other porp flicked it's tail high in the air. I followed them closely as they sped across my view and it was only when I was processing the images that I realised what I had witnessed. It was an attempt by a male to mate with a female with calf in attendance. The sequence of images below show the action and proof once again that Strumble is not only a feeding location but a social and breeding hub as well.

If you want to add anything Cliff please feel free.

He moves in on her.

He shadows her closely

He makes his move
A closer view
She moves away at high speed

She leaps to avoid his advances

Look closely. He's tight to her and the calf is at her tail

Still moving away quickly

He's still shadowing

Finaly he gets between her and the calf before I lose sight of them.