Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Celtic Deep and Grassholm

We went out yesterday, taking advantage of the exceptional calm conditions, and reached c.25 miles SW of Skomer.

Cetacean highlights were at least one, and probably 2 adult Minke Whales, along with a very small calf. They were feeding quietly in a small area around 16 miles from Skomer, often diving deeply for up to 5 minutes at a time.

Also, a pod of adult Common Dolphins about 2 miles E of Grassholm. Interestingly, no calves or even immatures : they were all so big we initially thought they were Bottlenoses!

Hi Sash, thanks for a very interesting report. Several years ago we saw and got images of a Minke Whale with a calf.off Grassholm in June so nice to hear of this. In the past few years Minke sightings have increased  massively on our ferry surveys and we see them on most of our surveys between April and September. 
We have been making the point for years that Pembrokeshire waters are a really rich and important feeding and breeding area for Common Dolphins.I remember first seeing big pods out there on a birding pelagic when we were out looking (and finding) Wilson's Petrels, it blew my mind!¬) I looked in the existing literature and it seemed to be unknown. Since then we have encountered several super-pods 
I think most calves are born as the summer progresses and many of them are big and pregnant at this time.  However I do remember on a couple of occasions seeing small pods of big macho looking animals that we felt at first  might be Bottles but then turned out to be commons,  probably males. Its possible the sexes split during the winter as is the case with other animals but its not clear  So much to learn! cliff.