Friday, 28 October 2016

Strumble & Breakwater 28/10/2016

A very grey day today and the light wasn't brilliant at Strumble but the ebb tide did produce a few porps working up the tide race. Just a short session and then it was off to the breakwater with Cliff. A mother and calf pairing were sighted close to the end of the breakwater and they circled around for fifteen minutes or so. The Snow Bunting was still out there but bad light meant the images are too grainy to be useful.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Strumble 26/10/2016

A 9.30am start to the session on a dropping tide, wind from the South with a bit of east in it and a very confused sea off the lookout. Porps were there and I saw about a dozen but all very fleeting and not a chance of capturing them on camera. But Strumble being Strumble always throws up something and appart from the female Scoter now coming through it was a resting Kestrel and a female Hen Harrier out over the water that stole the show. I know this is a blog primarily about cetaceans but sightings like this are rare so it's worth showing you all what can pass out there.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Porpoises up North from Andy..

Good afternoon,

I have sent you a few emails over the last few years to inform you of any of my sightings .

Well, the latest from today were a few grey seals and three porpoise just off the rocks at South Stack, Anglesey at about 12.30pm today. The porpoise were heading south west but didn't seem in any particular hurry!

Kind Regards

Andy Peters

(Much appreciated Andy!)

Porp and Snow Bunting

A quick trip to the breakwater with Cliff this morning brought us face to face with a beautiful little Snow Bunting. It was busy feeding on seed heads at the back of the breakwater and we managed to get a few shots of it before we ventured out to the end. A possible mother and calf were spotted quite a way off but as we were only seeing single surfacing except for one brief glimps of both through the lens it was hard to tell.  Not the best porp images but a record nonetheless.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Rich knows it 'cos he was there! shame JNCC does not want to know it!

Hi Cliff
Many thanks for a great day out yesterday. Hopefully as well as being very enjoyable the evidence of such large numbers of Dolphins in the area will be of use!
Extract from Pemb's Bird Blog...

I went out on a late season Pelagic with Sea Trust yesterday. It was pretty much "Dolphin Soup" at times as we started seeing pods of Common Dolphins about an hour out of Milford Haven and we then had Dolphins coming to join the boat for several hours. In all we estimated 600 Dolphins mainly females with calves.

Thanks to Sian, team Sea Trust connects again in the Celtic Sea!

Two weeks after the Magellan seismic survey ship left, we managed to get out there thanks largely to a donation from Sian Borley and some other Sea Trust volunteers who came out with us on the survey. When millions are spent on consultants, box tickers and careeristas who lobby with soundbites in the corridors of power and do ineffectual  paper searches, it seems a bit unfair that the actual gathering of real knowledge is left to a few individuals using their time and resources with little or no help from government or their advisors in JNCC.

The fact is they,JNCC would seem to prefer to ignore us because we make them look inadequate. They have failed to create a single Porpoise SAC in Welsh or English waters despite us giving them all the evidence needed to do so here in Wales, (as would be obvious to any regular reader of this blog). And now the EU commissioners have taken them to court for not doing so, In real terms they have totally failed to implement any effective safeguards for our cetaceans in UK waters south of the Scottish border. I wonder if any of them will actually read this?

Steve Rosser and Rich Crossen gathering photographic evidence.

Conditions were perfect and over 600 Common Dolphins were recorded in and around the area, predominantly females with young, Some were clearly pregnant and there were  lots of juveniles. This is consistent with what we have witnessed and recorded over the past decade. 

From the outer Bristol Channel out west into the Celtic sea and north towards the Smalls we have recorded several Super-pods in the thousands and many more pods of hundreds. 

All have a large proportion of females and young which clearly proves this area off the Pembrokeshire Coast is a breeding and nursery area of international importance for Common Dolphins and should be protected as such. 


These are not just wild claims.  We have filmed and shared this knowledge which has been featured by the BBC and seen in homes all around the world, but still the oil and gas companies are allowed to endanger these free spirits of the Ocean!

Whoever allowed the environmental consents for Magellan to do seismic surveys in the area were clearly unaware of these facts which just goes to show how totally useless our system is in terms of information being shared.The weather when Magellan's seismic survey was happening in terms of marine mammal observation was far from perfect and it would not have been easy to see dolphins. I shudder to think what the effect would be on calves and pregnant females. As always conservation always comes second best to commercial interests...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Porpoises in the chop...

Went out onto the Outer Breakwater with Chantelle after lunch, it was quite choppy with  a northerly wind sending waves breaking on the blocks. There were no Gannets feeding and after ten minutes of looking we could find no sign of either Dolphin or Porpoise activity.
As is often the case just as we were about to give in, a porpoise popped up close by. We then had a frustrating half hour trying to get a decent view of what was seemingly a mother and smallish calf and perhaps another adult. Better still  (not) I had brought my camera but no memory card.I borrowed one from Chantelle and managed to get a few shots of the calf which for a short time hung around one of the pot buoys whilst mother left it to forage further afield.
Both animals were surfacing in a really random manner and the female further out among waves that quite often obscured her or gave no more than the briefest glimpse through binoculars. Soon after the calf and mother moved out diagonally away from us towards  Pen Anglas so although we suspected them to be the same pair as yesterday we could not confirm it.
The weather is looking a lot calmer for Thursday so hopefully we will get a better look!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Better Late Than Never

A text from Anna today while I was working on my roof alerted me to porps and gannets off the breakwater and that Anna didn't have a camera with her. Unable to leave the job it had to be later when I eventually got out there. At the gate I could see gannets still circling out there so high hopes of a porp or two. By the time I got to the end the last gannet was just settling down on the water and not a porp to be seen. I waited though and it paid off when 45 mins later a mother and calf came in from Pen Anglas direction. Was it the one's that Anna and Chantelle had seen earlier though as that adult had distinctive fin markings. Well on first glance it seemed so and this was confirmed when I checked the image on the back of the camera. It looks as if it was none other than the one first recorded in 2010 in Ramsey Sound and again by me a few times at Strumble. First time I've seen it up close though and I hope it does indeed turn out to be that one. Over to Chantelle for final ID.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Small Tides = Small Returns

Two visits to Strumble with that cold easterly wind coupled with small tides and all I got to show for it is a few record images. The porps were sparse and those that were there were not showing very well and most times I was just seeing fin tips breaking through the choppy water. Strumble does have it's bizzare moments though and the guy passing on a paddle board did make me do a second take. I was well chilled with my coat and hat securely fastened while he was on the water bare footed with not much in the way of insulation. Maybe the music he was listening to was taking his mind off the cold. I hope his gadget was waterproof. Another surprise and a little off topic was a Woodpecker that landed on the handrail beside the lookout. One bird I've never seen at Strumble before.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Porthcawl Porpoise

I have been surveying porpoise in Porthcawl for 2 1/2 years. Many many blank sessions and the peak number of porps seen has been 3. Today made it all worth while!! 7 separate animals in the first 15 minutes. 14 separate sightings in the hour with an estimate of at least 9 porpoise present. One even breached giving me hopes of dolphin for a while. Small potatoes by Strumble standards but brilliant for Porthcawl.