Sunday, 10 January 2021

End of year round up Part 3.


The sunny calm dry weather had been a godsend allowing us to enjoy time in the garden but it had been frustrating in that things would have been perfect for Ferry surveys or small boat surveys but we had not even been allowed to do our work from the shore I think at the time, everybody thought we had seen the worst of covid, The English government seemed in a rush to get back to normality, here in Wales we were more cautious.but as we came out of the first lock down and restrictions on travel were relaxed the ability to work together again became possible... 

Minke magic, Minke mystery at Strumble!

Having heard of Kens incredible morning cetacean fest several of us, Holly Lloyd Fran and self could not resist the temptation to head on down to Strumble to see what we could see.we set up just below the Lookout socially distanced and as  we did so,  both Holly and Fran let out gasps of amazement as a Minke surfaced just a couple of hundred meters away, Fran's first ever Minke!

Lloyd and I missed it! but could see the footprint on the flat calm surface....
For half an hour we strained our eyes searching for the elusive rorqual At about twenty five feet long and weighing in at over ten tonnes you would think re-sighting it on a mainly flat sea would be easy. you would be wrong!
We had just about given up and were concentrating on some ridiculously distant porpoises, when Fran called out something big we all tried to get on it and lo and behold , at least a couple of miles out...

And so it continued for the next ninety minutes, distant porpoises distant Minke's and odd porpoises. all the minke sightings of animals heading right to left...Thrilling stuff but then we saw one heading back our way...

And then another surfaced much closer!

And then even closer, (Holly's shot!)

And so that was the magic! but the mystery was how many Minke's did we actually see? Definitely two seen well apart from each other, but there could have been half a dozen.I guess we will never know but one thing is for certain it was a cetacean spectacular none of us will ever forget!

Although we were unable to use the ferry for our surveys the Stena Europe's crew had not forgotten us and I was really happy to get this email from Sean

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Sean's Stena sharks!

Just got this from Sean Boyce ,Senior Master of the Stena Europe! I am guessing the lazy dolphins were Risso's!
Good evening Cliff,

I hope you are well?

We have been blessed with a lot of sighting of Marine Life this evening aboard Stena Europe

For a period of about 30 mins in approximate position 52 10N, 005 48W (27nm west of Strumble head lt.

We saw a variety of (lazy) dolphins & at least 6 basking sharks ranging from about 40 feet in length down to about 10 feet

I thought the above info would be of interest to you

Take care,

Best Regards,

As local people began to go a little further afield and enjoy our wonderful coastline we started to get sightings of sunfish being
 reported to us. Perhaps it was the particularly warm and sunny weather that contributed to the number or sightings or that the 
weather had been particularly beneficial in creating a food chain acceleration with more plankton producing more jellyfish and
 thence attracting the sunfish inshore but either way they were here nearly two months earlier than usual and in large numbers!... 

Sunfish further North! from ZaK Prior

Zak Prior had two yesterday!...
 Mate, the first 1 was off Cardigan island and the second 1 was just off Pen Belis west of Aberporth beach

Stackpole sunfish! From Peter Brooker.

 Spotted one today , Just off Stackpole Quay probably 500 mm diameter we rowed quit close first one spotted by us

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Stevo's Strumble Sunfish!

Yet another from Stevo!

Mum, Dad and Stevo L went to. Strumble head and we saw again another sighting of a small sunfish going with the tide race.And the time was 4:15pm plenty of sunfishes about it is interesting stuff.

Phil Davies 

Wed, 24 Jun, 18:53 (23 hours ago)
to me
I just saw a post asking for information of sightings of sun fish. Last week I took a passage from Milford have to Falmouth and back and we probably saw 2 dozen ranging in size

.I spoke to Phil and he said there were loads of Sunfish mainly south of Lundy so it looks like there are plenty more to come!

The sunfish sightings continued throughout the month in fact it seemed the Irish sea was giving of its best!

Strumble Diary,: Common Dolphins complete the Big Five set for June!

In among all the Sunfish A few Sea Trust Volunteers (Hannah, Callum and Stacey) turned up at Strumble and joined in with Holly on a watch  I had arrived earlier and found Hannah there. There were quite a few Gannets feeding and also probably 15-20 porpoises spread over a large area but too distant for my camera.

Just before I left I spotted what looked like a pod of Common Dolphins in the far distance... I later got an email from Holly..Its so nice when things work out!

The dolphins came in a bit closer, so I at least got some record shots in case you want them.


Also had a text from Richard Campbell  reporting four more from Strumble! So all the Pembrokeshire Big Five seen from the shore within 5 miles of each other this month! (Minke Whale, Risso;s Bottlenose, and Common Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise) not to mention all the Sunfish... Its good to be Back! 

So June 2020 was exceptional in almost every way and promised to keep up with the quality!

Strumble diary 30/06/2020

What a difference in two days. As rough as it was yesterday it was very calm today but spoiled by low cloud, lots of drizzle patches and very low light. Not so good for the photos then so today's shots are mostly for the record. Having said that it was another of those days when you get thrown a curve ball as Strumble has a nack of doing at times. So yesterday I had a single porpoise close in and beating that today were five porpoise close in including a mother and calf and one marked animal resighting, but it started off with a trio of common dolphin as I arrived mostly shrouded in the misty drizzle. Anyway back to the porpoise.
   They were first sighted just inside the tide race straight out from the lookout at about 800mtrs. They made their way closer and closer eventually entering a small bay between the lookout and Makerel Point. Lloyd, one of the Sea Trust staff happened to be fishing on the point and had a cracking view of this group close up as they made their way past the point right in front of him. Some thirty minutes or so later they returned back around the point, came right under the lookout and headed off around the lighthouse and off to the west.

So Ken was back in action and team Sea Trust with Holly's Photo ID volunteers were producing the goods. West Wales as a whole had been relatively unscathed by Covid with Ceredigian and Pembrokeshire having some of the lowest reported cases in the UK.

Hywel Dda University Health Board area.

Two of the cases of the virus were found in Carmarthenshire and one in Ceredigion, none were found in Pembrokeshire.

In total there have now been 747 cases in Carmarthenshire, 47 in Ceredigion and 283 in Pembrokeshire.

 Schools and shops were reopening and it seemed we were over the worst...