Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Week 2 June 17th-23th

Unfortunately due to unsuitable conditions we only made it out on three days this week.
Minke Whale (c) PaddyO'Dwyer - IWDG

On Monday 17th, we observed a rather small sized minke whale on the morning trip. We encountered a similar sized minke in a similar area on the evening trip, while this is likely to be the same animal the lack of any definable individual characteristics means that I cannot be certain. Shortly after seeing the minke we came across a harbour porpoise that only surfaced twice close to the boat before disappearing. Later on that trip we came across a group of 5 common dolphins, there was a harbour porpoise in the same area as this group. They seemed to take little to no notice of the boat and swam right past us. On the way back to Ventry we came across another minke whale. It’s likely this individual was different to the one we saw earlier due to the fact that it was much larger.

Gannet (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

Brief weather windows on Wednesday 19th and Friday 21st allowed us to perform a single trip on each day. Wednesday’s trip was in the evening and despite the bad weather we saw two minke whales very close to each other in an area with plenty of seabirds. Seabirds, especially gannets can be very useful in locating whales and dolphins. Sea birds often form groups while feeding on fish that have been forced towards the surface by the cetaceans feeding on them below the water. On Friday we only ventured out on a morning trip and with the help of some feeding gannets we encountered a single minke early in the trip. Shortly after leaving this minke behind us we encountered a group of two minkes that appeared to be feeding together, these two appeared to be similar in size to the group of two that we had yesterday.

Gannets Feeding (c) Paddy O'Dwyer

In addition to all these sightings we had plenty of other wildlife to keep us entertained. As per usual the grey seals had a good look at us while we were looking at them. There was also plenty of bird life also with all the usual suspects including puffins, cormorants, gannets, gulls and many more. The Monday trip also provided me with my first sighting of the red deer on Inishvickillaun. They can be hard to spot on the island despite being there in large number and relatively large size. While deer are not quite the mammals I’m here to observe it’s pretty special to see them on an island on the very edge of Europe. 

Deer on Inisvickillaun (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

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