From Wildlife Extra:
Close encounters with a Minke whale
May 2012. Summer may just have arrived in Manx waters, if the survey with the Manx Whale & Dolphin Watch recently is anything to go by. It was a beautiful day & the sea was alive with wildlife.
There were thousands of sea birds, including diving gannets, guillemots, razorbills and Manx shearwaters. We also saw dozens of harbour porpoises. Then we saw a basking shark – the first of the season for the Manx Basking Shark Watch and Manx Whale & Dolphin Watch team, and the first ever for our volunteers.
We thought the day couldn’t get much better, until we had a truly amazing encounter with a Minke whale. This Minke was curious and came right up to the boat. It was circling us, surfacing right alongside us and swimming underneath us. We could see the white bands on its flippers and its triangular shaped head.
The fish-finder showed that we were right over a big ball of fish and it seemed like the Minke was using us to help feed on them. None of us had ever been that close to a Minke before, even our very experienced skippers on the boat. I can’t imagine that we will be that lucky again, but it was an incredible experience which will stay with all of us for a long time.
Hopefully, this is the start of a great summer for marine wildlife on the Island. Time spent at the coast or on the water should reward you with some fabulous sightings of sharks, whales, dolphins and porpoises. We look forward to getting your reports, hearing your stories and seeing your pictures. Sharks can be reported to www.manxbaskingsharkwatch.com and whales & dolphins to www.mwdw.net.
May 2012. Prior to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in July 2012, conservation groups have released a report calling for a change in Denmark’s policy on whaling which has caused conflict with fellow European Union members in recent years. There are serious questions about how the Danish presidency of the EU can be maintained, given that its whaling policy doesn’t mesh with EU law: here.
July 2012. Marine biologists from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the University of Exeter have attached satellite tracking tags to 20 basking sharks in the seas around the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. The tags will allow people to track the movements of the sharks on the SNH website in close-to-real time: here.