Friday, 2 December 2016

Strumble Diary 02/12/2016

A group session today at Strumble as Cliff, myself, Anna, Kiri, and Brad had a click count with near record results. Porps were showing all over the place with the calm conditions helping see even the most distant animals. The Rissos appeared again as the ferry approached but today they were even more distant than yesterday at about 4-5 miles. Quite gloomy conditions for pics but I did manage
to get a few of the closer porps.

Strumble feeding frenzy

A few shots of porpoises  feeding.  Kens will be better but I think the shots of Team Sea Trust in action eating Danish Pastries reveals a gluttonous side of my colleagues never before recorded! I will point out the pastries were a reward for them sticking it out doing a record click count in the cold. There were porpoises everywhere we looked, at one point and on a slow count i got over 50 with several mother and calf pairs.  Although rather overcast the calm sea allowed us to spot porpoises near and far. On the click count which measures activity /surfacings we had an average of just over four hundred for the hour, I estimate there were at least eighty porpoises present. We also connected with the Risso's which were even more distant today but on queue as the Ferry passed by repeating the same journey from Est to West for the third day  almost to the minute which is extremely fascinating.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Strumble Diary 01/12/2016

A cloudier start to the session today meant poorer light conditions on arrival and not so good for images. It did brighten up as the session went on in more ways than one as Cliff and myself were treated to a large but distant pod of Rissos moving east to west some two miles out. Some twenty or so in three groups spread over a quarter mile or so. You always hope for a bit of action in these circumstances and we were very pleased when one animal breeched several times as they moved quickly along. All in all a good session with Cliff recording good numbers on his click count and me capturing a good record of the passing Rissos.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Strumble Diary 30/11/2016

A shorter than planned session today meant I was later getting out there than I would have liked. Not to worry though as there was still plenty of action going on to the west of the lighthouse. I stayed in the warmer sunlit car park rather than the shade in front of the lookout so it was a lot more pleasant than yesterday too. A message from Cliff when I got back suggested Rissos in the area (see Steve's previous post) but sadly although I was scanning out to sea as well I didn't see any.

What a big splash

Mr Rosser doing the business  on the Stena Europe! Gotcha! (CB)

Chantelle, Michael and I set off on a Stena survey yesterday in excellent conditions. Sightings came thick and fast from the beginning with 6 separate sightings of porpoise, a total of 16 animals, before we cleared Strumble. This was followed by a distant sighting of 5 common dolphin. The conditions were so good that any white water meant cetaceans but that lead to the frustrating bit. We had very distant splashes which seemed to be something good but was just too far away. Shortly after that Chantelle shouted that she had seen something so I looked across in that direction. I had the biggest splash that I have ever seen from Stena Europe in over ten years of surveys. It was reminiscent of the humpbacks that I had in the Pacific. Whatever it was we will never know because it did not show again. We had another 6 common dolphins before bad light stopped play at 16.44.

Chantelle and Michael got off at midnight so I did the return alone. I was all keyed up hoping for the leviathan that had eluded us yesterday but it was not to be. There was a long line of bout 25 common dolphin feeing off the Tusker followed by 6 shortly after. Mid-channel I had 3 Rissos logging on the surface but they dived just after I saw them and did not reappear. The approach to Strumble was full of porpoise....7 sightings totaling 22 individuals. As we got abreast of Strumble a pod of Rissos appeared, 7 adults with  3 calves. As I was taking photos I was praying that Ken was on Strumble because with his gear he would have got some stunning photos. As things turned out Ken had done his Strumble shift and gone while Cliff went to Strumble to see us in and was just too late for the Rissos.
A really good winter survey

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Chilli Porp

A deceptive bright blue sky this morning masked the chill awaiting me and the pup when we arrived at strumble. The temp guage in the car read 0deg and that was at the cliff  top car park. So with winter coats on, a flask of coffee in the bag + treats for pup it was off to the lookout for an ebb tide session. The tide was just starting to show swirls as it passed the lookout and straight away a few porps were visible but not showing well. As the session progressed several animals came up the tide but as yesterday most of the action was to the west of the lighthouse about a quarter mile out. I just failed to catch a porp breeching on it's side (See splash image) but that was the most active any of them got.