Day 1 of NWDW
On July 29, 2023, National Whale and Dolphin Watch Week began in New Quay. The first sighting of the day was an adult harbor seal heading north, at a distance of only 70 meters. Later in the morning, a small pod of 7 common dolphins were seen feeding and surfacing for almost 3 minutes. Two bottlenose dolphins, an adult and a juvenile, were spotted together by an experienced observer. They were observed for a whole minute feeding, foraging, and surfacing only 10 meters away! Shortly after, three more bottlenose dolphins were spotted from a boat survey. The day concluded with one last bottlenose dolphin being spotted feeding 100 meters away.
The interns hosting the public landwatch did not spot any animals due to the choppy water, but they did get the chance to educate many members of the public and bring joy to children with face painting. The evening’s official kickoff event was live music by the talented Amy Lee at the Sports Bar. Great fun was had by all in attendance.
Day 2 of NWDW
Yesterday was the second day of our 2023 NWDW week. By 9:30am, the day had started with a definite sighting of one bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) heading north in New Quay, Ceredigion. Before the hour was out, a grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) was spotted heading east from Dungeness, Kent. We couldn’t have been more excited to record our first whale sighting of the week less than 10 minutes later! A minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) surfaced off the coast of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Back in Dungeness, between 10:30am and 11:00am, three harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) were identified swimming north and west and two harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) were noticed bottling (sleeping in the water).
The middle of the day was quiet for our UK marine mammals, but around 2:00pm, a large shoal of harbour porpoises was spotted heading west off of Strumble Head, Pembroke. This was a rare sight as harbour porpoises are not nearly as social as other cetaceans. Two bottlenose dolphins visited Strumble Head an hour and a half later. Just after 5:00pm, four bottlenose dolphins were sighted in New Quay, and around 6:30pm, a mother and calf were seen just off the pier!
Overall, it was a great two days for NWDW! We are excited to see what the rest of the week brings!