As the cold, winter nights draw in, and All Hallow’s Eve approaches, researchers at Sea Watch have reason to believe that spooky goings on aren’t just confined to the terrestrial world! Whilst humans up and down the country decorate their houses and their faces in all manner of spooky attire, we have news of a ghost in Cardigan Bay!
First sighted in 2006, Ghosts’ distinctive dorsal fin markings have turned her into a fan favourite, with children and adults alike delighting at her appearances in New Quay, West Wales, over the summer months. Last year, we were particularly excited to learn that Ghost had become a first-time mother to a calf affectionately dubbed “Casper”. However, at the start of this season, Ghost was routinely sighted alone, and as bottlenose dolphin calves typically spend up to three years with their mothers, we were forced to conclude that Casper had died. The death of the first calf is not uncommon in the cetacean world, but we at Sea Watch were saddened all the same.Ghost the dolphin, with her characteristic dorsal fin colouration Photo credit: Daphna Feingold/Sea Watch Foundation
As the 2017 season progressed, Ghost was spotted several times alone, or in the company of adoptable dolphin Berry and her calf Luna, until this month, when Ghost was once again spotted with a newborn calf! At first we were reluctant to believe this was her calf, as its quite unusual for a bottlenose dolphin to become a mum again so soon after losing a calf, but photo-id investigations revealed that it was indeed Ghost which had once again had a baby. It seems appropriate that this little one’s existence came about just as the country prepared itself for the spookiest night of the year…..I think Ghost wanted to give us all a treat!Ghost showing off her goulish new calf to Sea Watch researchers earlier this month Photo Credit: Laura Bartlett/Sea Watch Foundation
If you think you’ve seen Ghost and her new baby, or any other cetacean for that matter, then please report your sightings here, as all records are valuable to our ongoing studies of these phantasmagorical creatures.
Happy Halloween from Ghost, her calf, and all of the Sea Watch team.
Written by Laura Bartlett, Sea Watch Research Assistant 2017