September sightings. Feeding frenzies and Risso’s galore!

IMG_6305Risso’s in front of Bradda Head by Kirree Jenkins 


Some incredible wildlife spectacles have taken place this September around the Isle of Man.

On 6th September we had reports from various observers aboard Pride of Man iii who had a wonderful encounter with a young whale who swam beside the boat for 20 minutes. The whale could even be seen swimming upside down under the water. We have had mixed reports of this encounter and although the most common species seen here is the Minke whale, we cannot yet give it a positive ID. We have information that suggests it may actually be a Sei whale or young Fin whale. If anyone else has further information and photo’s of this whale we would love to hear from you. Thanks so much to Eleanor Bannan, Roy Maddrell and Arne Dahn for the reports.

On the 8th September, typically when we were away on holiday, we had a phone call from Chris Watterson, a local fisherman at Niarbyl, who at the time was watching an incredible feeding frenzy. He watched Risso’s dolphins, Common dolphins and Minke whales, along with hundreds of diving gannets, for as far as the eye could see. Later that day we had a phone call from Kiree Jenkins who had been out fishing amongst the frenzy. Kirree, husband Philip and their children spent a whole afternoon surrounded by countless Risso’s dolphins, many with young calves, they also saw Common dolphins further offshore. The dolphins were spread out from Fleshwick to Dalby up to 2 miles out. At the time the Jenkins family were catching an incredible amount of Mackerel. Worldwide, it is thought that Risso’s eat squid and octopus rather than fish, so this is very interesting.

The following photo’s were taken by the Jenkins Family:

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On Saturday 19th, another big pod of Risso’s dolphins were seen on the West. There were at least 40 individuals seen from midday until 6pm  We had reports from Alfie Leach, Ian Young and Chris Watterson. The dolphins were again spread out over a large area all the way from Fleshwick to Niarbyl.  In Manx waters Risso’s typically hang around in pods of 8-15 individuals so it is very reassuring to know that they are being seen in larger aggregations.

The last big group of dolphins reported was on Thursday 24th, when a pod of 30 or so Bottlenose dolphins were seen in Ramsey Bay. Bottlenose are often seen between October-March on the east coast, so they have returned to Manx waters a little early this year.

It has been a productive month in Manx waters, with a total of 19 sightings reports from the public. If you have seen anything please report them to us via the ‘report a sighting’ button.

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