Moonlight and Starlights story in 2021

March 2021​

Starlight is now approaching 18 months of age! The pair have stayed in Manx waters all through the winter, with 20 sightings between September and the end of January, including just two sightings per month in December and January. It is likely they spent the majority of this time between Peel and Point of Ayre, where the terrain is largely flat, making it difficult to spot dolphins due to observers’ lack of elevation. Additionally, as the weather has been largely windy and cold, few people have been out walking the beach between these locations. 

By May we obtained the best set of images this year, taken by Ron Strathdee

End of June 2021

Starlight is now almost 22 months of age. She/or he (we still don’t know!) has been gaining confidence and feeding further away from Moonlight, but the pair are still typically seen very close together. 

They continue to be seen on an almost daily basis either in Peel or somewhere along the north west coast, every now and then popping round to Ramsey bay. 
We still haven’t known them to interact with any other dolphins, for example there was a pod of 6 unknown bottlenose dolphins in Ramsey on 13th June, where Moonlight and Starlight were they day before, but they were nowhere to be seen when these other dolphins came through.

Our pair have been as active as ever; seen feeding on mackerel and sea trout in Peel, Moonlight laying on her stomach on shallow sand banks, and Starlight coming to check out rod and line fishermen. They even came in for a skeet during the Viking Longboat races – photo by Martyns Fotos

Drone footage shows size

We love this drone footage as it gives us a really good idea of Starlight’s growth rate. At 22 months, she is still considerably smaller than Moonlight and it may take her the best part of 10 years to reach adult size.

Footage by Steven Elkins June 2021


After almost 2 years of studying *her*, we can finally reveal that Starlight is female! This is thanks to a superb series of photos by Dave Corkish on 2nd July, showing Starlight’s underside for the first time. You can even see her belly button-we love this! According to Dave, Starlight breached like this across the whole of Peel bay and it took her all of 8 minutes

Permission obtained from the Marine Mammal Anatomy & Pathology Library for the use of this diagram. Take a look at their web page to read all about how to determine dolphin sex by looking at the genital slits. Females have one long slit with two small mammary slits either side (difficult to see in each photo), whereas males have two smaller slits.


The story continues