Whales, dolphins, of Ireland


This video is called Whales With Names – Fin Whale and Calf.

From Wildlife Extra:

Fin whales off the coast of Ireland – And 5 other cetacean species

Following on from the sighting of Blue whales off the south west coast of Ireland, Mick Sheeran, of Blaskett Islands Ferry & Eco Marine Tours, organised a full days Pelagic in the hope of spotting the Blues.

By Mick O’Connell of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group

On Friday 26 September, an exploratory one day trip to the shelf edge west of the Blasket Islands produced an amazing six species of cetaceans in 12 hours.

Leaving just after 7:30 am, the passengers and crew aboard ‘An Blascaod Mor‘ were treated to a display from four bottlenose dolphins in Ventry harbour and it was hoped that this boded well for the trip. The voyage out beyond the Blasket Islands was fairly uneventful with occasional groups of common dolphins in a rather choppy sea. Within moments of our arrival at our destination near the shelf edge, ecologist Dan Brown spotted a large blow astern of the vessel.

Fin whales

Steaming back to investigate, we spotted 3-4 Fin whales in the area, easily recognised by the white right lower jaw. Two were juvenile animals and were very relaxed, logging at the surface and then swimming over as if to investigate our almost stationary boat during which time they could clearly be seen under the water between blows. Photo I.D. shots were obtained although as they were young animals, the dorsal fins had few distinguishing features.

Long-finned pilot whales

During the encounter, we were also treated to sightings of a pod of about eight long- finned pilot whales, which was a particular treat for those of us who only ever encounter these animals stranded on our beaches.

Gannets, porpoises & dolphins

Due to the distance involved, we had to steam for home just after 2pm. By this time we were treated to calmer seas and warm sunshine which made the journey more pleasant. Towards evening time as we returned to the Blasket Islands, we were treated to more feeding frenzies of gannets with some harbour porpoises and 60+ common dolphins associated.

Minke whale

Steaming in towards Dingle Bay, the dolphins kept us company on the bow for much of the way and the conversation turned towards the possibility of seeing a minke whale and wondering what the current ‘record’ was for the number of cetacean species seen from one boat in one day in Ireland. Once again, it was Dan Brown who was first to see the Minke feeding near Slea Head which brought us up to an amazing six species for the day. All in all a remarkable end to a remarkable day which left both passengers and crew smiling and wondering just how many places in the world could produce such a diversity of sightings.

Thanks to all the IWDG members and friends who came out on the day and particular thanks to Mick Sheeran (086-3353805) for finding the needle in the haystack!

The voyage was organised by skipper Mick Sheeran of Blasket Island Eco-Marine Adventure Tours ( www.blasketislands.ie ) in conjunction with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, with a view to obtaining photo ID images of fin and/or blue whales in the area.

Fin whale stranding in Ireland: here.

First ever live Sei whale sighting off Ireland: here.

High numbers of Northern right whales seen in Gulf of Maine: here.

A huge [Northern right] whale has been successfully sedated for the first time to free it from fishing gear: here.

New Zealand’s fishing industry ignoring science – endangering dolphins: here.

Marine mammals and diving: here.

1 thought on “Whales, dolphins, of Ireland

  1. Pingback: Fin whales in Irish sea | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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