Friday, 31 October 2014

Britain's best Cetacean Course?

Day two of our Wildlife Observer Wales Cetacean Course started with the Sampling/survey lecture and test in the college, and then off to Newquay with the intention of getting some Bottlenose Dolphins under our belts.
As we drove down the hill towards the Harbour we could see some heading south out of the bay. Luckily Powell  managed to park quickly. I thought our best chance was from above the Fish Factory so we hot footed there and happily after a bit of a search found some distant circling Gannets and could just see the Dolphins beneath them . Bit by bit they moved closer, (at least fifteen) including a couple of calves with lots of breaching and interplay going on. They were extremely mobile and as they came back towards us and back into the bay, we walked back with them to take up position on the Harbour wall. It was a brilliant opportunity to get to grips with wild dolphins who gave a fantastic display for free.Why anyone would pay money to go and see them in a whale jail where they live short miserable lives heavens only knows. Come with us and see them wild and free learn about their habits and biology and get a qualification all for a fraction of the price!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Derek Moore MBE

I was hugely saddened to hear of the death of Derek last week from Wdig Birder on my return from Ireland.
Although mainly known for his involvement in the birdwatching world I first got to know him when he was Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust S&W Wales. It was largely due to Derek's support in that role that Sea Trust came about as the then Marine arm of the Wildlife Trust.
As I remember, several of us had become more and more interested in cetaceans and marine wildlife in general so that when I suggested we form Sea Trust as a part of the Wildlife Trust, Derek's response was "Yep OK!", uncomplicated, direct and positive; which sums up the man I knew, perfectly.
His life was dedicated to conservation not just birds but all wildlife.I remember him out with us on a small boat survey out in the Celtic Deep with huge Fin Whales all around us. I can hear him now... "Blimey Mate, I've been all around the world wildlife watching but this takes some beating!" I am glad we gave him something because he gave all of us that knew him the feeling we were one of his best mates.
It was only a few weeks ago I learned of the severity of his illness from a young lady helping with his treatment in  Glangwili  Hospital who came out with us on one of our boat trips. She gave no specific detail's but he was obviously seriously ill. It was Derek who despite being seriously ill  had recommended her to come out with us. She saw a superpod with her mum! I bet Derek was chuffed when she told him!
In these days of career conservationists and box tickers, he was a shining example of someone for whom the living world was an absolute passion that he was willing to fight for! Hwyl! Derek we will miss you!

WOW! First day Strumble shines in the rain with Porp's and Risso's

The first day of our  Wildlife Observer Wales course began with our Cetacean ID lecture with film and images culminating in a test. In the afternoon we headed off to Strumble To try and put the ID skills to the test. The Porpoises were not particularly obliging with only a few distant views but I think everyone got on them. As the drizzle began and the light began to go I noticed  a splash and then a couple of big tell tale fins! Risso's!!

I really think ours is the only cetacean course on offer that gives a recognized qualification but also gives a good chance of seeing several cetacean species!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Catch up!

I have just got back from a two week break in West Cork, Ireland which sadly coincided with gales etc which meant I failed to get to see any whales. We did get out briefly with Colin Barnes but although we connected with  some porpoises and a couple of Common Dolphins the sea conditions worsened and we had to abandon the trip. 
Back home now and I have just been chatting with Adrian Roger (Wdig Birder)  who tells me that despite some pretty stormy weather here, Risso's continue to show up at Strumble and there was another report of Bottlenose Dolphins in Fishguard Bay last week.   
Tony Gallon and Liz Dowcra braved some less than helpful weather conditions aboard the Stena Nordica surveying our Hollyhead Dublin route.Despite trying conditions they did spot a Dolphin although were not sure as to species, also a single porpoise. Grey seals were also in evidence as were several species of sea birds.
We will be leading one of our Wildlife Observer Wales (WOW) Cetacean Courses with our Colleagues from Pembrokeshire College this week so hopefully the weather will be kind and the cetaceans will be showing off! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Porps and bottles

Several porpoise showing off Pen Anglas yesterday, and reports of bottlenose dolphins in Newport Bay Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Strumble Head 18th October.

A single Risso's this morning at 9.15 moving in an Easterly direction beyond Tide Race. Quite a few Porpoises showing. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014


We had a report in this week of an otter sighted in Goodwick. Lovely to hear! There have been a few in over the summer, but it was this time last year we were getting several reports in, so let's hope for some more..

Unfortunately last week too, we had a report of an otter found dead just under Strumble lookout. We went to pick it up and have handed it over to Mair Rees of Natural Resources Wales to be post-mortemed in Cardiff. Maybe some good can be salvaged from this small sad tragedy...

Monday, 13 October 2014

Common dolphins from Andy

on sunday cartlett lady went out to the same sea area as we previously saw the superpod ,
we saw 100 to 200 common dolphins in groups of 30 or so.
 the initial encounter group were VERY large animals some scarred with cuts on the dorsal fin and sores on their back 
the rest were mother and offspring pairs,
 all were feeding 

Leapfrogging in Ramsey Sound

Some very nice close in Porpoise around St Davids Head,
been seeing good activity so far this month when we have been able to get out,
Ramsey Sound the place to be for Porpoise action...close up!! 
Malcolm and Lou

Friday, 10 October 2014

Strumble jackpot

Linda and I enjoyed prolonged views of a Leather-backed Turtle at Strumble Head mid dayish. It attracted a large number of mixed gulls which hovered above it as it swam westwards. It was at or near the surface for about four minutes during which time it several times lifted its head, each time its left flipper showing above the surface.