An amazing fortnight of sightings 10/06/13

Hi everyone, well finally, after a few months of waiting, we have had a long spell of good weather, with lots of sunshine and low wind speeds, so it is not surprising that we have had so many sightings reported to us. To complete our Manx cetacean species compliment for the year, we were just waiting for Minke whales and Common dolphins to be seen. The first Minke whale of the season was reported on the 30th of May, by Chris Watterson, off Little Ness and in fact there have been a few more sightings of Minke’s in that area. The first Common dolphins of the year were seen off our research vessel Girl Pat, about nine miles south west of Peel (you will not see the sighting on the website as many of our sightings are a long way offshore). It was a group of around 10 to 15 individuals, which for the usually active Common dolphins, were behaving quite sedately, although as always with Common dolphins, there was a small amount of leaping. There have also been lots and lots of Risso’s dolphin sightings recently, as always on the east coast, generally between Douglas and Port St Mary. The Risso’s sightings in fact are much more similar in terms of numbers and distribution, as they were in 2007 and 2008, where we had lots of sightings reported to us of Risso’s from Marine Drive at this time of year. From 2009 to last year, the number of sightings of Risso’s has been very disappointing, with less than 30 sightings a year, compared to nearly 80 in both 2007 and 2008.

          Add to this the unusual appearance of Bottlenose dolphins in Manx waters in the summer and the huge number of Harbour porpoises being reported to us and you can see why we are quite excited about this summer. There also finally appears to be a plankton bloom in Manx waters, so hopefully this will attract plankton eaters, which in turn will attract more fish eaters, ie. marine mammals. So, if you’re out and about near the coastline, do have a quick scan of the sea and you may see something amazing in front of you. As always, please remember to report anything you see that may or not be a cetacean to the website and if you see a Basking shark, please report it to their website (www.manxbaskingsharkwatch.com). Happy spotting!

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