Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project – The Blog

Just my Luck

Its been a while since my  last blog. Unfortunately the weather has been starting to change  and during the odd sunny spell the dolphins haven’t been playing ball.  However last Friday the sun came out and i set off for an early morning Pier watch, i arrived at the pier just after 7.00am and  set up my equipment. My confidence was  bolstered  by the fact that the dolphins had been spotted around 8.00am the previous 2 mornings. So all i had to do was wait……… and wait….7.30am nothing……..8.00am nothing…….. and wait. By 9.00 i was a defeated man and began to call it a day, i had all my equipment packed up and was heading off the pier. Then out of the corner of my eye i saw the splash i had been waiting for. Not 1 but a group of 6 dolphins appeared. I rushed to unpack and began to set the equipment back up. The group displayed signs of suspecting feeding and impressive aerial behavior. By the time i had set up they had calmed down a bit but i still managed to get a few impressive pictures.

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(C) SWF/ John Pye

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(C)SWF/ JohnPye

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(C) SWF/John Pye

 

Camera Practice

After a weekend of watching digiscope tutorials online and reading web page after web page I feel I have finally begun to get to grips with the basics.If you, like myself are new to the digiscope world check out this great blog. . Knowing how good this equipment and seeing some of the amazing pictures people have taken has really inspired me.

So this morning I finally set off down to New Quay Pier, the water was choppy but the sun was shining and my enthusiasm was sky high.  I began by changing the settings to Av mode and having a play with the ISO and aperture. I was pretty please with the initial results, the sharpness and focus has definitely improved from my last attempt IMG_0489

 

With my confidence growing i decided to take some pictures of moving images, the boys  from Dolphin Spotting Boats trips made a perfect target. The weather may have been to rough for the main boat to go out but that sure looks a lot of fun!!  This was probably my best shot of the day and the change to Av mode certainly helped.

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Shortly after i managed to snap a flying gull. This was significantly further out  than the boat and tested my skills even more, having to sort the camera out and keep the bird in the field of vision was certainly  a challenge but i feel i managed a decent job. IMG_0526

With all this practicing i felt it was about time for some dolphins to show themselves and within about 15 minutes they surely did. The conditions weren’t ideal and the dolphins where a long way out but excuses aside i feel the picture below is an improvement on last week and hopefully a sign of things to come.   IMG_0533

 

I just cant wait to get back out on the pier and take some more fantastic shots, bring on tomorrow……..

Cloudy with a chance of Dolphins

 

The weather was pretty miserable and the elements looked against us but we still managed to get down to the pier with the camera and digiscope. After about 2 hours of watching it seemed like it was going to be a fruitless day, then just as we were packing up a solitary dolphin made an appearance.

 

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(C) John Pye/Seawatch Foundation

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(c) John Pye/ Seawatch Foundation

Having arrived to New Quay only a week ago i am still getting to grips with the camera and its set up. As you can see from the pictures above they are both a bit blury and out of focus. Scientifically we cannot use these images to identify this dolphin for our research.  However, informally  we believe this individual may have been Snowflake.  Below is a picture of Snowflakes fin from our master catalog, this is an example of the type of quality that we need. Now I just need to go and practice with the fantastic equipment so that we have some great pictures for future identification.

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(C)Seawatch Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolphins in the rain.

Friday started with torrential rain, but that didn’t deter us from heading out onto New Quay pier in the hope of seeing some dolphins. We were rewarded by some bright, sunny spells and many groups of dolphins turning up. There were lots of different behaviours on display; some individuals just hanging around swimming normally, while others were more acrobatic, leaping partly through the water or jumping out fully! They seemed totally unaffected by the passing showers.

Sadly the unpredictable showers meant we couldn’t risk getting out the digiscope, but we did manage to get some shots of a close individual in one of the dryer moments using the camera. This particular dolphin kept appearing close to the pier, delighting passers by, and then heading further out towards the cardinal buoy to join another dolphin out there.

(c) Sea Watch Foundation/Imogen Cavadino

(c) Sea Watch Foundation/Imogen Cavadino

As you can see, the dolphin photographed close to the pier does not have any clear nicks or notches, which are crucial markers for photo identification, making it very tricky to know which individual we saw today.

Here’s hoping for better weather on Saturday, or our sand sculpture competition will be washed away!

 

Imogen Cavadino

 

Sea Watch Intern

A normal day in the life of 007

Yesterday Bond was hanging around in New Quay Bay. He started off by spending some time by New Quay pier, swimming around and checking out the boats that passed by with enthusiastic visitors. He was just swimming and probably looking for some fish to eat. And maybe he found some fish that he followed all the way to the cardinal buoy, because he then spent about an hour feeding and taking it easy in the waters around the buoy.

Just another normal day in the life of our beloved Bond!

Photo: Emilia Benavente/Sea Watch Foundation

Photo: Emilia Benavente/Sea Watch Foundation

Photo: Emilia Benavente/Sea Watch Foundation

Photo: Emilia Benavente/Sea Watch Foundation

Sun, sand and face paints on the pier!

The celebrations for National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2014 are still going strong here in New Quay!

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with lots of sunshine and a gentle cool breeze. Sadly the dolphins did not put in an appearance at all during our time on the pier, but everyone had a great time taking part in activities.

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The most popular one today was face painting, with most of our volunteers and interns having a go. We ended up with a menagerie of sea creatures, including basking sharks, crabs, starfish and bottlenose dolphins (of course!).

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This week we are joined by young volunteer, Imogen and her mother, who took part in one of our land watches for us. They did a great job of collecting data and really enjoyed sitting in the sun watching for dolphins!

Imogen and her mother keeping a watchful eye on the horizon

Imogen and her mother keeping a watchful eye on the horizon

We also had a visit from one of our adoptees, a keen supporter of Sea Watch who had traveled up with her family for a holiday in New Quay. She had a great time joining in the land watch and trying out the Digiscope, and it was lovely to meet another very interested supporter of our work.

Claire trying out the Digiscope

Our visiting adoptee trying out the Digiscope

We were hoping for a glimpse of her adopted dolphin Smoothy and calf Dipper, but unusually they didn’t put in an appearance today. Sadly we cant always have it all! I’m sure they’ll be many sightings to report about here from New Quay very soon.. stay tuned..!

 

Imogen Cavadino

Sea Watch Intern

 

All photos (c) Sea Watch Foundation/Emilia Benavente & Imogen Cavadino