Wednesday, 2 January 2019

New Years Day Public Porpoise Watch

The first thing I have to say about this event is what a superb turn out. By far one of the best attendances of any event of this type I've been involved with at Strumble. Thanks also to Cliff and Stevo for setting the scene in the previous posts.

As usual I made my way to Strumble some two hours before the public event as I always like to get a feel for the weather/tides and to capture anything I can in the event that we don't see too much later. That way I can at least show people that the animals were there. But I needn't have worried as our porpoise did us proud and showed up in reasonable numbers throughout the event. The only thing that let us down was the poor light in the very overcast conditions which made spotting very difficult for those new to sea watching. Cliff gave a welcome talk struggling through a dose of the lurgy and explained the work of the trust and it's aims toward conservation and protection. A bold effort considering his voice was only half it's normal volume and was quickly fading.  I then gave a talk on what makes Strumble so unique for our porpoise explaining the tidal systems and the geography of the area and also used the opportunity to describe our Porpoise ID project, it's importance to the background science and to promote the volunteer scheme.

As for the sightings, there were several porpoise milling around an hour or so before the main event but not showing well and this lasted for ten minutes or so. This is usual behaviour as they often group up and move away with the tide as it builds. During the event itself we observed several small groups of two's and three's moving NE-SW against the tide flow in the now well formed tide race. Sighting was difficult in the poor light which as the afternoon wore on was steadily deteriorating. As the session drew to a close Ben spotted a single Rissos off to the right of the lookout moving quite quickly to the west I managed a couple of shots and most of our guests were able to see it with the naked eye. Over the next few minutes more Rissos appeared about five in all but in the dim flat light quickly blended in with the swells and headed off toward St David's Hd.

On the practical side of the event I did manage to capture a marked animal for our Fin ID Project so a Win Win I reckon.

So all in all a fabulous event, well attended and very enjoyable. Thanks again to all who made the effort, it's from your presence and interest that I for one find the drive and inspiration to keep telling the story of Strumble and our wonderful marine wildlife through the medium of photography and through passing my knowledge on first hand to locals and visitors alike that I meet on a daily basis at the Strumble Lookout.  Here's hoping that 2019 will give us a bumper year for cetaceans and that Team Sea Trust can go from strength to strength.

Ken B