Citizen Science at Sea Watch Foundation
At Sea Watch Foundation, we rely heavily on citizen scientists to help to collect our sightings data from our coastal waters. Our two citizen science events, Orca Watch and National Whale and Dolphin Watch, both run for nine days and allow us to create a ‘snapshot’ view of the status and distribution of cetaceans in a short period of time. In addition, we also ask for sightings to be submitted all year round, via our website and Sea Watcher App, to formulate a more rounded view on the status of cetaceans. Over the past few months, we have been working hard to bring together a new video to showcase the importance and reasoning behind our call for citizen scientists. Nature film producer, Antonia Salter, and marine biologist, Lauren Davis, attended Orca Watch this year to capture the excitement of the event. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel here.
Berry’s new calf
We said farewell to our research season and final cohort of interns at the end of October. However, one intern, Celia, decided to stick around in New Quay for a little while longer. Celia has been with us since April this year and has gained impressive knowledge of our Cardigan Bay dolphins this season, often one of the first to identify individuals from the pier and our surveys! Celia is particularly fond of one of our adoptable dolphins, Berry, who she has regularly seen and had the opportunity to photograph from the pier in New Quay.
We have known Berry since she was a calf, first put into the catalogue in 2007. Throughout her 15 years we have observed her raising several calves, including Pip and Summer. She has a fairly unmarked fin with no nicks and notches but characteristic white lesions around the edge of her fin. She is also often spotted in New Quay with dolphin, Ghost.
At the end of October, we were in for a treat as Celia was thrilled to observe and photograph Berry with her brand new calf whilst on survey with Dolphin Spotting Boat Trips! As we add the new calf to our catalogue, we took to social media and our Adoptees to name the new kid on the block. Katrin, our Monitoring Officer, put forward a few names and the overall consensus was to name the newborn ‘Fey‘. Fey is another word for fairy, a mythical creature, often assumed to be mischievous and magical and we think it’s the perfect match. We can’t wait to continue monitoring Berry and Fey over the coming months.
To hear about Celia’s internship in more detail and for a peek at her favourite sightings and photos, check out her talk during our Evening with Sea Watch Foundation from National Whale and Dolphin Watch this year.
Sea Watch in the news
Our younger audience may have seen the viral TikTok video of an enormous pod of orcas surrounding a fishing trawler at night. Our Director, Peter, was asked what the pod might have been doing.
“Orcas often associate with fishing boats and take fish out of the nets as they are being hauled”, he told Newsweek. “During autumn and winter, some of the key areas where this occurs include the northern North Sea, northwest and northeast of Shetland, and west of Norway right up to the Arctic. Sometimes, pods of orca can number more than 100 individuals, attracted by the protein-rich fish resources.”
We were also thankful for our mention on Autumnwatch Watch Out! with Hannah Stitfall. Watch our footage and find out more about how you can get involved with our work in this episode. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled too for our feature in new, upcoming UK conservation magazine, Woop Woop Magazine, launching this November. Katrin sat down with them to discuss our work in Cardigan Bay and the importance of conserving our marine mammals. Find out more about the magazine and when it will be released over on their website.
That’s all the latest news for now. To stay up to date with all our work, why not become a Sea Watch Member today for just £3.50/month. Find out about all the benefits over on our member’s website.
Katie Baker Communication and Outreach Officer