As the year progresses, Seawatch Foundation’s interns come and go, and as the end of the summer approaches we have lost a few keen volunteers, and gained three more. I am one of those new arrivals, having just finished a masters degree in Marine Biology, with a thesis focusing on temporal patterns of dolphins on the west coast of Ireland, a project facilitated by sightings data and passive acoustics. I decided to join the group of school leavers, graduates and post-graduates at Seawatch to lend a hand sighting marine mammals near New Quay and strengthen previous, varied experience.
Having arrived a week ago, we have been welcomed and trained in land-based observations from the pier, line-transects and an array of office tasks. During last-weeks’ line-transect we had a number of sightings early in the day, including a group of 10 bottlenose dolphins which displayed interesting behaviour, which will be covered in a later blog. The new interns were not our only new arrivals, with a recently born grey seal pup being sighted atop a coastal rock.
Grey seals enter pupping season around September in Wales and most pups will be born before November. Whilst we are excited to see many more adorable young seals being born on our coasts, it is important to respect their boundaries whilst viewing them. Dogs should be kept away from hauled out seals to prevent mothers and pups becoming scared, and possibly separated. Always keep your distance from them whether in a boat, kayak, or on foot, so as not to disturb them in this crucial life stage. Whilst enjoying these sightings please remain at a respectable distance.
Remember if you ever spot a Whale, Dolphin or Porpoise you can report their location to Seawatch so that they can be logged in our national sightings database!