Monday, 23 January 2017

Strumble Diary 23/01/2017

Hi Folks,
First chance to get out to Strumble in quite a while and thankfully those dreadful east - northeast winds have moved on. There were a good number of porps showing despite the slow tide with feeding going on all across the tide race. They stayed quite distant but it still makes for a good record for the data set with some twenty to thirty animals showing through the session. Cliff and the team arrived soon after myself, accompanied by a small team from BBC "Wales Today" who were there to do a piece on Sea Trust's conservation efforts. A bit of filming and a couple of interviews with Cliff and myself  allowed us to press home the case for the Strumble SAC. It should be going out on TV this week probably Wednesday or later so do keep an eye out for it.   Cliff  has also added some info below too. Hope you all had a great new year and I look forward to posting more for you all to see as the year goes on.

Ken B.

Nice Ken! and you had it all set up nicely ready for us just to turn up and enjoy the spectacle of loads of Porpoises! A nice mother and calf was a bonus.You really wowed presenter David Grundy and impressed Cameraman Dave Owen. This wood mouse was also listening quite intently!

I really enjoyed the fact that David was clearly enjoying watching the porpoises. 

We also filmed aboard the Stena Europe, many thanks to Captain Richard Davies and Carl Milne as well as the security staff and all our mates aboard and at the port for their help and support!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

From Andrew and Ruth Crowder..

Andrew Crowder

11:21 (42 minutes ago)
to me
Friday, 20th
Hi Cliff,
We took a visit to Strumble for the spectacular sunset yesterday. Although it was around slack tide, there were 3 porpoises feeding off the lighthouse. A pair who associated together throughout and a noticeably larger individual who kept to (? )himself.
Andrew & Ruth

Thanks for this Andrew and Ruth,  apparently females are larger than males but generally speaking not that noticeably at distance... possibly two juveniles + adult? 

Hi Cliff, 
Yes possibly. Have to admit I've never noticed size difference when I've been watching apparent adults. The pair were the same size but the size difference with the other was noticeable. Ruth also remarked on it without me mentioning it. Water was calm and light was good so I don't think there was any atmospheric effect. Just an observation. 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Sea Trust Stena survey, continued.


Our team did pretty well although it seems the weather at the southern end of the Irish sea was not as calm as the weather forecast predicted with sea states up to 3-4. Porpoises were sighted on the outward survey before it got dark and three pods of Common Dolphin were sighted on the return trip including a large pod of 50-60+. Another pod of unidentified distant dolphins may have been Risso's but unfortunately have to go down in the archive as unidentified. Also missing from the official figures was the resident Bottlenose Dolphin seen by the team off the Rosslare harbour mouth just before the ship left port. So three species (perhaps four) seen but only two make it to the official score sheet! 
There's scientific rigour in practice! Again, we have to thank Stena Line and their employees both onshore and aboard the Stena Europe, We could not do it without your support!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Stena Europe survey, (just a taster,report to come)

I got back a bit late to get the full story of the trip so will fill that in later, Steve Rosser sent a few images so here's a taster of what the Irish Sea Can produce in the depths of winter!...

And a sunset from Cristina!...

Putting Tony in the Picture!

Whilst our Sea Trust team were surveying the southern Stena Fishguard-Rosslare route, I met up with Tony Gallon who organizes our Stena Holyhead-Dublin Route. He was joined by one of his regular survey team volunteers Dave Williams, so it was great to put a face to the name as we had not met before.
L to R:  Dr Tony Gallon & Dave Williams.

The reason for the meeting apart from a catch up with Tony, was to hand over a new Bridge Camera that we paid for (thanks to a  generous donation from Stena!)  complete with bag and SD card in the hope they might get a shot of the next Orca they see! (not at all jealous of that one, Honest!)

My old mate Elfyn  Pugh also joined us as well, so we had a jolly lunch with some great cetacean stories! Dave easily won with his story of photographing an Orca eating a Blainvilles Beaked Whale! I doubt if anyone could beat that one!

I could  have happily spent all afternoon in such great company but  unfortunately I had to head back to Pembrokeshire. Good luck with the camera guys!

Team Sea Trust on the Stena Europe again!

Team Sea Trust L-R Cristina Steve Brad and Anna, on the port bridge wing of the Stena Europe just before departure!

A bit of a murky start although visibility was not too bad as we awaited them passing by. The tide was well advanced and we only had one porpoise sighting from the shore. Conditions should be calm and bright  for the return trip so high hopes of some good sightings!

Steve Rosser's patience pays off with a porp!

Conditions were perfect for a survey on Tuesday so I headed for Rest Bay nearr Porthcawl. The sea was sea state 1 but the visibility was less than 5km. The tide was in so I gave it a go. I was scoping into the mist  and was surprised to see an anchored angling boat appear then disappear. After 20 minutes a porpoise surfaced twice briefly and disappeared into the mist and that was my only cetacean of the one hour survey. A skein of about 20 common scooter completed the day.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Fishguard Harbour Porps

Having given a slide show presentation for the Letterston Stroke club which was enjoyed by all, it was almost four a clock when Chantelle and I got out on the breakwater, The westerly wind was making things quite choppy and the light fading. As we drove along the breakwater there were a couple of Gannets circling  around the harbour mouth which when we arrived and had a look, gave away the presence of at least two perhaps three Porpoises. I had them in my viewfinder a couple of times but failed to get a shot in the difficult conditions. None the less it was a nice winter record and Chantelle's first Porp's of the year!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Strumble Diary 09/01/2017

Firstly, reading Chris's post, it's nice to know I'm inspiring people to get out there and take some shots. Nicely done Chris.

With a westerly 5-6 blowing and scattered cloud altering the light, conditions were challenging but at least the porps were there. Quite a few in fact which was nice to see as they've been low in numbers of late. Leo the porp hound was on watch too and as can be seen below was diligently watching over the sea. He's getting quite used to our little watch sessions now and can't wait to get out of the car when we arrive there. Doggy binos next Christmas I think.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Southerndown Porpoises

Photo taken by Steve Jones, DLA, Porthcawl RNLI from his own boat off Southerndown, Vale of Glamorgan yesterday Saturday 7th January.