As expected Day Four of National Whale and Dolphin Watch was a great success! We had over 50 sightings submitted! In what seems to be an emerging pattern over 20 of those sightings were from Berry Head, Devon. Sightings started just after 6:00 in the morning at the headlands and continued with great intensity through the morning and slowed down after 11:00. The vast majority of sightings from Berry Head were of common dolphins with over 200 accounted for in total, the biggest group seen at once was 35 individuals. Harbour porpoises were spotted feeding and bow riding throughout the day, as well as a few grey seals in the afternoon.
The second most popular location of the day for our marine neighbours was Dunwich, Suffolk, the 9 sightings at this location all came in from one very dedicated observer! Their dedication was rewarded with a total of 7 grey seals seen bottling, feeding, and swimming, as well as 5 harbour porpoises spotted swimming in the middle of the day. A few harbour porpoises were noticed in Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire as well as 15 bottlenose dolphins in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire.
Arguably our most exciting sightings of the day came in from Scotland. The first Risso’s dolphins of this NWDW were found off of Muckle Skerry Island, Highland around 9:30, a few more were seen by Duncansby Head, Highland in the afternoon. A minke whale made its appearance off of Mallaig, Highland much to our observers delight and a few hours later in the same spot a killer whale was spotted stalking a pod of dolphins!
Sightings in Wales began at 9:00 in Aberaeron, Ceredigion with 3 bottlenose dolphins (including 1 juvenile!), shortly followed by two harbour porpoises seen off Gower. Swansea County had their fair share of sightings as well. All sightings were judged to be common dolphins and were observed throughout the day off of Oxich, Rhossili, and Port Eynon, with one group of 35 including 7 juveniles! In Feolin, Argyll & Bute, 2 harbour seals were spotted around 14:30.
Back in New Quay, Ceredigion, our day kicked off at 9:30 with a mother and calf bottlenose spotted by one of our lovely interns; Georgina Evanson. A total of 13 bottlenose dolphins were seen in New Quay yesterday, including another calf in the afternoon. Our interns also organised a beach clean on the main beach here in the morning and a very creative sandcastle and sandcreature competition in the afternoon! One of these sandcreatures included SeaWatch’s first mermaid sighting (which could’ve been one of our interns on closer inspection). We finished the evening with a wonderful set of talks from cetacean biologists across the world! See you back here tomorrow, and don’t forget to keep your eyes pointed to the sea!