Monday, 9 September 2013

Week 13 September 2nd-6th ‘’Final week’’

This was the last week of the bursary the 13 weeks seem to have flown by. The weather in the beginning of the week didn’t look great and this was reflected when we finally made it out on Tuesday the 3rd, rough seas and an overcast day made spotting very difficult. The evening trip was cut short and unfortunately we didn’t see any cetaceans.
Rissos Dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG
Things were looking up on Thursday the 5th with the weather much improved. Our first sighting was  a group of 12 rissos dolphins, while commonly seen around the islands in the past this was our second sighting of this species during the study. The first time we encountered them was on the first day of the bursary, on that occasion they were only surfacing briefly and didn’t hang around too long. However on this occasion they were surfacing multiple times and appeared to be foraging. This gave all of us fantastic views, there group appeared to be a mix of mostly adults with a few juveniles. After spending some time with them we moved on. Later in the day we had two sightings of individual harbour porpoises which only made a few surfaces before moving on. We also encountered the rissos on the evening tour and again they seemed unfazed by the boat. On our return to Ventry we came across a minke whale that surfaced multiply times in close proximity to the boat. This is the first time in a while that we have seen a minke and its good to see that cetacean activity in the area appears to be on the increase.

 Rissos Dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

                                                                       Rissos Dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG
Friday the 6th was another fine day, despite our best efforts we couldn’t find the rissos again. However we did come across a group of 30 common dolphins. At first there seemed to be only a few dolphins but as we continued it was clear that it was a much larger group with more and more dolphins appearing around the boat. They were bow riding and playing in the wake of the boat. The group contained a few juveniles and a very small calf. This group also contained a member with a floppy dorsal fin, we have seen this individual before a couple of times. It can be seen in the video below.

Common Dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG
I’m currently looking over the results of the study and will post some final figures in terms of  days,sightings and numbers over the next few days. I’d like to thank the IWDG for providing this fantastic opportunity and Mick Sheeren ‘’Marine Eco Tours’’ for providing the platform for this work. And also to Billy, Britta and Nick for all the help they provided during this project.
For more on Irish Whales and Dolphins:

For more on Marine Eco Tours :

                                                                             Rissos Dolphin (c) Paddy O'Dwyer - IWDG

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