On the 12th of July, a group of 30 bottlenose dolphins were sighted off Hilbre Island in the Dee Estuary. The sighting has sparked interest as it is one of the most easterly records for this species in the Irish Sea. Calm sea conditions enabled local watchers to view the dolphins, who were found to be travelling west in a number of small sub groups. The animals remained visible in the area for around thirty minutes before moving on. Bottlenose Dolphins are known to occupy the waters of the Irish Sea and occasionally are seen on the eastern North Wales coast in recent years. However, this is not common and we would normally expect these sightings in the winter months. In summer, there are fewer sightings of bottlenose dolphins in North Wales with most animals migrating into Cardigan Bay. However, SWF surveys of southern Cardigan Bay so far this year suggest that there are fewer animals in the area. Photographs of the fins of these animals would be extremely useful to identify the animals in order to see if these dolphins are indeed part of the Cardigan Bay population. If you have a chance to photo a fin please send these into firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for further details.
Also of interest this season is the increase in Atlantic grey seal populations for the months of May and June. The increase has also been recorded in North Wales, on the West Hoyle Bank. A record number of seals were documented on the 12th of June with 779 hauled out seals counted! The observations were taken by the Hilbre Bird Observatory who has been documenting grey seal numbers for the past 50 years. It is an excellent sighting and great news for the population of grey seals, whose numbers had declined slightly in recent years.