Sunday, 29 January 2017

Strumble Diary 29/1/17....Striking gold in the gloom

The forecast was for rain but when I woke up it was overcast but  still not raining I gave Ken a bell and by 9:30 we were at Strumble as the tide began to ebb. To the east and distant, a dozen or so gannets were feeding but too far to see if the porpoises were with them.

In front of us were several eddies where the tide was not really making yet. Intermittently odd porpoises surfaced a couple of times and then frustratingly disappeared below the waves again, chilling in the slack currents. Getting shots of them was really challenging, as their surfacings were so random. At one point four together  and we were pretty sure they included a mother and calf.

The weather since Christmas with north easterlies had messed up our attempts to get images. Some days we were seeing animals but with the onshore piling up the waves towards us, getting decent shots was unproductive. They either appear momentarily on top of a wave or disappear in the troughs.

It was early in the tide and the Gannets had moved out of sight. Every now and again we managed to get a shot and  confirmed the mother and calf . She was feeding in the eddies, separating and  leaving the calf as she dived deep among the weed and gullies, as she surfaced the calf chased after her clearly unable to keep up.

The  rain at first a drizzle, began to impinge on the light. I concentrated on spotting for ken hearing his canon rattle away hopefully getting shots after a while a closer sighting and what was yet another mother and calf showed up,  It was a nice reward for our persistence in less than perfect conditions, But better still Ken let out a whoop as he checked out his screen and confirmed a porpoise with a nick in its fin! I will put up a few of my inferior efforts as an appetizer!

mother followed by calf

closer view

Is there a nick in this fin?

Another mother and calf...

So given the circumstances, our midwinter porpoise watch in the gloom struck gold in the shape of two mothers and calves and at least one identifiable individual! Over to you Ken!