Sunday, 11 August 2013

Week 9 August 5th-11th

Unfortunately some prior commitments meant I missed a couple of days this week that combined with some very changeable weather meant we only got out twice this week.  On Friday the 9th we had two very different encounters with two separate groups of common dolphins. The first group we spotted were very close to us and were swimming along slowly were completely indifferent to the boat merely swimming around it and not interacting with it at all. The second group we spotted from a few hundred meters off they were coming clear out of the water and making directly for the boat. This group stayed around the boat for a while and were bow riding alongside us it was a complete contradiction to the group we had seen earlier. The variability you encounter in each group is one of the things that makes working with animals quite interesting and ensures you ant rest on your expectations of what the animals should do.

 Common dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

We were back out the following day and came across some harbour porpoises and common dolphins. Our first sighting was of some harbour porpoises that were swimming slowly across the bow of the ship they surfaced multiple times giving all on board a great opportunity to see this often elusive species. Later in the day we came across a group of 20 common dolphins these were in a similar location to the first group we saw the day before and again didn’t show much interest in the boat. Aside from a few who approached and bow rode briefly they were gone soon after they appeared.

Common dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

Hopefully the weather improves for the rest of the month as Nick Masset is still reporting plenty of Humpback blows in the area. Nick has reported seeing 4 separate animals on one occasion. Nick conducts many of his watches from Slea head and from Clogher head and while he uses a high power scope the blows can often be seen through a reasonable pair of binoculars. As always if you see any cetaceans around the coat of Ireland please report to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group Sightings network it’s a two minute process and helps us to track animal movement around Ireland and gives us more insight in area use and animal behavior: 
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