Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Fishguard Harbour Breakwater Dolphin Watches..normal service resumed!

Its always a worry when you are trying to show people wildlife. I started doing it nearly forty years ago as a partner in Cambrian Bird Holidays and you always feel under pressure to deliver the goods.
Wild animals are just that, free to move as they please. What happens one day is not necessarily what happens another. In the case of apex predators such as cetaceans, much depends on where the fish are and that is complicated by season and tide. Oh yes and the fact that they are invisible below the waves as well!

For two years now, or at least two summers, a mother and calf  Bottlenose Dolphin whom we have named Apache because of a pale patch on the leading edge of her dorsal fin and Ringo,  her well grown (maybe three year old+)  calf, have been semi resident outside  Fishguard Harbour.
Its not just Ringo and Apache, there are sometimes others, maybe 20+ but that is sporadic . There are two others, a mother and calf pair that Ken Barnett named Notch and Scratch which seem to hang around as well but less often. Also other strangers we have not managed to give identities to.

Porpoises also put in an appearance occasionally and although there is a certain amount of evidence to prove some incidences of dolphins attacking porpoises with fatal  results, it is not an incidence we have recorded here in North Pembrokeshire. None the less if I were a porpoise I would not want to be within a mile of a Bottlenose Dolphin!

So Mick and Jo' from Kent signed up for our Dolphin Watch on Tuesday, which although porpoise and Bottles were briefly seen by Ruben Uno and myself,  the sightings were too brief and distant for our Kentish couple to get on to. This morning was choppy and even so, I saw a mother and calf Porpoise, but could not get M&J onto them, So we tried again this evening (Wednesday).

On arrival at the breakwater I scanned the sea for cetaceans but hardly even a bird was spotted. Mick and Jo' were amazingly patient  and I was  grateful for their support. Having moved up to the lighthouse end I scanned the sea for tell tale gannets circling but there were none. Conditions for spotting had improved on the morning making the lack of any signs of life obvious  On a bit of a low I walked around to the absolute end facing the harbour entrance but saw no indication of life nor any Gannets.

I was just about to go when I heard a "Ppffeeww!!! kind of sound of a dolphin blowing  and was exceedingly happy to see Apache and  Ringo doing a bit of a pattern. no more than twenty metres away! I  yelled for M&J who came running, Finally I had  managed to show M& J some dolphins and at close range, they were delighted! As I said its always a pressure situation when people pay good money to see wildlife with you even though with wild animals there  can be no guarantee.

I was massively reassured, as I was wondering if our dolphins were changing their habits with the onset of more holidaymaker pleasure boat traffic and with high tide times, making it easier to launch. A pair of jet-ski's had been screaming around the harbour and quite a few fast boats going out and coming back in, during the middle part of the day around the high tide.

Of course I had left my memory stick in my laptop  so no photo's but in the bright sunshine it was easy to identify Apache and Ringo. Less easy were another mother and calf pair but I suspect it was Notch and Scratch. All four animals seemed to tentatively  join  in a loose group together and circle each other as if they were not exactly sure of each other. I have noted that Apache and Ringo tend to be wary of other dolphins as if they were avoiding contact with other dolphins, Perhaps this is why they have moved out here becoming seemingly  resident in Fishguard  Bay over the past two summers.

Either way if you would like to join us on the outer breakwater to try and see them with us, give us a bell on 01348 874737 between 10 am and 4 pm for our Dolphin Watch times, £5 per person (all donations go towards helping us at Sea Trust  to continue our work studying them).

Fishguard Outer Breakwater watches.

Really frustrating, with yesterday, a single sighting of a breaching dolphin that only showed the once, also a really hard to see Porpoise.And again this morning a really frustrating Porpoise mother and calf who showed in a three or four times in a really random manner in a choppy sea and which I couldn't  get our visitors onto...That's wild animals for you beautiful wild and free but sometimes very frustrating!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Strumble Diary 26/7/16

Did a little better this morning although the porp's were pretty distant. Unfortunately they were getting closer on the rising tide but the drizzle set in and made me pack up!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Strumble diary 25/7/16

We arrived late this afternoon as a big tide shot past the lighthouse leaving us slim pickings. We managed to spot a few porpoises, but sporadic and mainly within the very choppy tide race. I only got one shot in the hour but none the less its a record!
Stevo Lucas  nd family connected with Apache and Ringo at Fishguard outer Breakwater and Gareth "Curly" Williams saw loads of common Dolphoins off shore whilst shark fishing!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Not a whale not in Wales but none the less pretty interesting!

Hello. I think this may be a rare sighting but on Friday afternoon around 8 miles West from Portland we experienced a Thresher Shark breaching off our our stern. It had blackish top sides, the distinct tail and curled significantly in the air. It breached 4 times, sadly I went for my camera phone but that was the last time. It was around 30 foot off of our stern and we estimated it to be 10 to 12 foot long. Anyway, I thought I'd notify you as numbers of sightings do not seem to be high.

Mark Oswald

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Bottles continue to hang around Fishguard harbour!

Apache and Ringo yesterday..

We caught up with Apache and Ringo yesterday around midday and today a single animal was cruising around in the vicinity of the harbour mouth. I am not sure who it was, possibly Apache but i forgot my camera due to change of car, so no pic's of this one. It did  gently tail slap quite frequently, as if trying to make contact with someone else. As I could not get any  ID features its difficult to be sure if it was definitely just the single animal. It just goes to show the impossibility of actually counting dolphins!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Strumble Head 20th July 16

In my two hour watch I saw just a single Porpoise, however at 16.40 while watching some gannets circling at approx. tide race distance a Whale breached once at probably the same distance out again. Minke is most likely but I never saw it subsequently to confirm that.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Apache and Ringo still in residence!

We have been flat out  busy working on our marine exhibition over the past couple of weeks and combined with some iffy weather has interrupted our Strumble Diary...However we have been keeping tabs on the  outer breakwater and our semi resident mother and calf Bottlenose  Dolphins "Apache" and "Ringo". 
They come and go a bit and seem really shy, but they are pretty much there every day.we are doing a fund raising dolphin walk on Sunday: Meet Ocean  Lab, Fishguard Harbour, @2:45 pm  and hopefully Apache and Ringo will turn up as well! £5 per person!

Here's some shots of Ringo and Apache today!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Apache and Ringo today.

Stevo and Joel were out on the breakwater today and saw Ringo and Apache this afternoon.We were out earlier and no joy! It was a  stiff northerly messing up the sea a bit, so easy to miss so they could have been there, They have been  bit sneaky recently!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

From Glenn Ibbotson from Strumble!

Strumble yesterday]. At least 7 dolphin fairly close in-but Common rather than Bottlenose. they were very bouyant and so gave clear views of face patterns and even occasionally a creamy-yellow wash on the sides of the head. One individual had a particularly 'rearing' action when breaching the surface at a steeper angle than the others. Another had a clear notch 3/4 way up its fin's trailing edge. Also one calf, which jumped right out and performed a quarter-roll. There had been at least 2 Porpoises around, but they gave the Magnificent Seven [+] a very wide berth! All this between 1-45 to 3'30pm See you soon, G lenn
Brilliant report Glen and first Strumble CD's of the year , many thanks!