Thursday 13 June 2024

Strumble Diary 12/06/2024

 Just a short add on to Cliff's previous post and to add a few pics. I had been there for the previous three hours or so and joined with the Wednesday survey team. Only three porpoise sighted in that time plus several Commons passing through. After Cliff and Fran arrived we sighted a good number of porpoise but as explained by Cliff they were mostly poor sightings with only fins and splashes to give away their presence. (see pics below).

                  A pair of Buzzards circling over the road by Trefisheg on my way to Strumble.

Strumble diary 12/6/24... and some gruesome news from Cardigan Bay!

 Fran and the walrus spent a sunny afternoon on a dropping tide at Strumble with Ken, hoping for some porpoise action. It was a long time coming, and again frustrating "splash and dash" views as the porpoises were feeding quite a long way out in a choppy tide race. Interestingly they were joined for a short time by a small pod of Common Dolphins, which happily seemed to get on OK with their smaller cousins.

However, this is not the case with Bottlenose dolphins as we received this report from Greg Ellis...

Morning, I did a Dolphin and Porpoise watch @ Mwnt yesterday evening (12/06)17.00 to 19.00 hrs as part of the Ceredigion SAC monitoring and I believe I watched another group of bottlenose attacking a porpoise. It happened about half a mile out towards Cardigan Island. Huge amount of activity splashing, chasing etc then what I believe to be a porpoise physically tossed out of the water. Tried to get pics but failed 

 Thanks! Greg, as you are aware it is not that unusual for Bottlenose Dolphins to kill Porpoises, although nobody is sure why, Some people think it's the equivalent of teenage bover boys, some think it's one predator getting rid of a potential competitor. Either way, it's not what people expect of smiley cuddly Dolphins, Of course,' they are big potentially dangerous predators, although for some reason they seem to act in quite a friendly way toward humans.

Over the past couple of years, Common Dolphins seem to be visiting Cardigan Bay, it would be interesting to know if there are any similar interactions with the resident Bottlenose Dolphins!

Monday 10 June 2024

Strumble Diary/When the north wind doth blow...Yuk!

 A couple of sessions over the past week but although porpoises seen, the high tides and strong winds from the NW have meant scrappy seas and Porpoises hardly breaking the surface, fin-tipping, as we call it! Very frustrating for us all even Ken has difficulty getting shots!

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Sea Trust Porpoise Photo ID project.

 May Sightings 2024

We saw many harbour porpoise throughout May this year with a total of 328 individuals seen 🐬
Throughout the month we were also lucky to to see many common dolphins, 7 grey seals, many calf’s (mainly porpoise but a few common dolphins) and 3 Risso dolphins 🐬🦭
Photos taken by Nadia - Projects Manager, Hannah D + Annabelle - Placement Students and Ben, Maddie, Dawn and Carrie - Volunteers, Sea Trust

Sunday 2 June 2024

Strumble Dairy, from Francis, 1/6/24 Risso's return! (we hope)

 I thought you might be interested in a sighting from today. I observed 

during the falling tide, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.and saw just one 
porpoise. As we were leaving, at about 3 p.m. one of my group spotted a 
Risso's dolphin surfacing in front of the building, not as far out as the 
tidal race. It surfaced quite slowly and was close enough to give good 
views of the fin. I observe whenever I'm in Pembs and I've chatted with Ken 
a few times.

Francis Hickenbottom

Risso's have been absent (as far as we know) since mid-November, 2023. 
In recent years they have been seen pretty regularly recorded right into the New Year although the last sighting in 2022 was also in November..There may be an answer as to why this should be the case. 
Firstly why were they there? According to local fishermen, they start getting squid eggs on their pot lines in late summer /autumn. Squid are Risso's favourite food.. 
In recent years we have seen growing numbers of Common Dolphins overwintering here something unheard of a decade or so ago.  We have had pods of 100+ in the last couple of years and Common Dolphins also eat squid. Not only that but very recently Bluefin Tuna have been spotted off Strumble  (22/11/23).  

It seems likely, that both these incredibly fast species would out-compete our larger less numerous Risso's, therefore explaining perhaps, their early departure in the past two years. We will continue to monitor the situation but Frances's sighting after a brief distant sighting of Risso's a few days ago by Ken is encouraging!

Monday 27 May 2024

Strumble Diary 27/05/2024

 I didn't think I would be able to get a session in today, but did manage a couple of hours. When I arrived the porpoise were mostly feeding well beyond Mackrel point which is quite unusual as  during the state of the tide at the time they would normally be off the lookout. They soon did move back with the tide and although some went straight through to the west, others did stop to feed off the lookout. The tide race was very strong today and mostly kept the porpoise darting side to side hardly surfacing for breath, although enough of them took breathers (excuse the pun) and I did manage some pleasing images. There will be a break in my postings for several days I'm afraid as family commitments have to be fulfilled so I'll continue as soon as I can. Have a great week everyone.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Strumble Diary 26/05/2024

 Another day, another session on the dropping tide. The weather was kind to me with a SW direction and moderate in strength. The porpoise, distant at first moved closer in as the tide moved along and as the tide race formed several came in closer feeding out off the lookout. Similar numbers to the previous two days so I was kept busy, first finding them then tracking and shooting them as they sped through the swells. 

Friday 24 May 2024

Strumble Diary 24/05/2024

 A later tide today so no rush and even time for a bacon butty for breakfast, then off to Strumble for 11.30 ish. On arrival the tide race was just forming and a lot less turbulent than yesterday due to a westerly wind. The porpoise soon appeared but were less numerous than in previous days. In total seven to ten at a guess over a two hour period. Of note was a returning marked porpoise as highlighted below + one other, so well worth the time spent.

On returning home a heads up from Holly (Thanks Holly) on the supporters Whatsapp group sent me scurrying to the outer breakwater for Bottlenose Dolphins, the first of the year for me. Two animals which were showing well but headed off toward Pen Anglas some twenty minutes after my arrival. Managed to get a few good shots so I was not disappointed.