Orchid flowers of Vlieland island, Europe’s earliest

Lesser Twayblade orchid, Neottia cordata

This is a photo of a Lesser wayblade orchid, Neottia cordata, from the Isle of Man.

Translated from the Dutch botanists of Werkgroep Europese Orchideeën:

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Last weekend, two members of the Working Group on European Orchids (WEO) found on Vlieland the first flowering specimens of the Neottia cordata orchid. After a literature review it turned out that nowhere in Europe the species blooms as early as on the Dutch Wadden Sea islands Vlieland and Terschelling.

Sea holly flowering on Vlieland: here; on Texe: here.


Isle of Man, Scotland dolphins

This video is about bottlenose dolphin sounds.

From Wildlife Extra:

Several sightings of dolphins off the Isle of Man – Are Bottlenose dolphins moving north?

Plentiful herring may be luring the dolphins

May 2013. The unusual sight of a large group of bottlenose dolphins near the Isle of Man this week may be further evidence that they are shifting their summer range northwards, says the marine conservation charity Sea Watch Foundation.

The Manx Whale & Dolphin Watch not only reported around 10 bottlenose dolphins in the north eastern part of the Isle of Man on May 19, but later the same day, a large group of 50-60 bottlenose dolphins, including young calves, were seen off the eastern part of the Island.

Have you seen any Bottlenose dolphins off the Isle of Man or nearby?

Both organisations are calling for members of the public to send in photographs to photo@seawatchfoundation.org.uk of bottlenose dolphins off the Isle of Man or off the north east coast of England and the Galloway coast in the northeast Irish Sea, to see whether they can be matched with any known to frequent Cardigan Bay. Photographs need to show their fins side on which are used for ID in much the same way as fingerprints in humans!

20 Bottlenose dolphins off Abbey Head, Dumfries

Another interesting sighting – a group of 20 bottlenose sightings off Abbey Head, Dumfries and Galloway – was also reported to Sea Watch by Regional co-ordinator, Mark Pollitt, manager of the Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Recording Centre on 20 May. Photographs are again being sought to see whether these dolphins match records either from Cardigan Bay in Wales or form Scottish populations on the west and east coast.

Risso’s dolphins

Daphna Feingold, Sea Watch Monitoring officer for the Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin Photo ID Project, says: “There were also reports of Risso’s dolphins in the Isle of Man area at the same time and of the two species swimming together. Although this is not unheard of, it is quite unusual in UK coastal waters.


“In recent years we have been noting what may be a shift in the Cardigan Bay population northwards, and we are concerned that this may be due to disturbance since recreational boating has increased and has been shown to have a negative effect on the animals.”

Sea Watch is calling for added protection for bottlenose dolphins around the north coasts of Wales since these are being used extensively by bottlenose dolphins. Current conservation protection for the species exists in the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC, but not further north.

Increase in the number of Bottlenose dolphins in Manx waters

Tom Felce, Manx Whale & Dolphin Watch, says: “There has been a clear increase in the number of sightings of bottlenose dolphins in Manx waters in the last two or three years, with sighting numbers increasing from around 15 sightings a year, to around 40 or 50 sightings a year. The majority of these sightings are in the winter months, between October and March, so a sighting of such a large group towards the end of May is particularly significant.”

Plentiful herring

Manx fisherman Danny Kermeen, who reported the initial sighting of ten individuals, has been catching lots of herring in the north of the island which may be the reason that the Bottlenose dolphins are in the area at this time of year, as herring do not normally reach the north east of the island until October or November. However, since herring eat sand eels, it may also be those that are attracting the bottlenose dolphins.

National Whale and Dolphin Watch from 27 July – 4 August

Find out more about Sea Watch and how to take part yourself in National Whale and Dolphin Watch from 27July – 4 August via www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk and help protect the UK’s whales and dolphins by adopting a Cardigan Bay dolphin on www.adoptadolphin.org.uk.

A RARE dolphin has died after becoming stranded in a Scottish sea loch. Sightings of what was initially thought to be a pilot whale in Loch Fleet, Sutherland were reported on Monday, but the creature was identified as a Risso’s dolphin when it came ashore on Wednesday afternoon: here.

Warmer seas could lead to more dolphin deaths in South Australia: here.

Coral in the Irish Sea

This video says about itself:

Undersea Specialist David Cothran talks about discovering very rare cold water coral clinging to the cliffside 700-feet deep in the Norwegian fjord Tysfjord.

From Wildlife Extra:

Evidence of Coral reefs in the Irish Sea

By Johnny Woodlock of the Sea Fishery advisory Group – Irish seal sanctuary

October 2012. A number of years ago an ex commercial trawler skipper, who had over twenty years experience working in the Irish Sea, told me that he had once found coral in his nets. When he told me that he still had a piece of it in his shed, I asked if he would show it to me.

Coldwater coral

He showed me a small piece of coral which he said he had trawled up about twenty years previously, approximately fifteen miles off the Irish coast. Following a bit of research I was able to identify the coral as Lophelia pertusa, a coldwater coral more usually associated with deeper water, and not previously associated with the Irish Sea.

Realising the significance of this find I notified the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Marine Institute. The Marine Institute confirmed my identification. Neither body was aware of Lophelia being present in the Irish Sea.

In August 2012 the same fisherman told me that he had seen a similar piece of coral in the house of a friend, also a retired trawlerman. He was able to access this new piece and I photographed it and could identify it as another piece of Lophelia pertusa. We were able to establish the co-ordinates where both pieces had been hauled aboard and these have been forwarded to the Marine Institute.

Trawlers typically pull their nets for hours before hauling them up but the first piece had fouled the net so the fisherman is confident that the co-ordinates are accurate.

Area has been heavily trawled

Hopefully the Marine Institute will find evidence of living coral in this area. Unfortunately the majority of the area in question has been heavily trawled by larger boats pulling heavier nets for a number of years.

This reflects a report written in 1837 which refers to corals off the Isle of Man which fishermen believed were used by Herring as spawning grounds, however local fishermen blamed trawlers for “injuring the ground by scraping it quite smooth”. This report also quotes anecdotal evidence of two coral banks on the Eastern side of the Isle of Man, in about sixteen fathoms of water.

27 June 2005: Malahide, Ireland – WWF welcomes the Irish Government’s move to protect the country’s cold-water coral reefs announced by Pat the Cope Gallagher, Marine Minister, at the OSPAR Commission Meeting in Malahide today. The global environmental organisation says that this important step will serve to protect Ireland’s marine treasures and will be of long-term benefit to the fishing industry: here.

Isle of Man whales and dolphins

This video is of an encounter with minke whales in Pleneau Bay in Antarctica, December 2005.

From Wildlife Extra:

The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch online diary was launched on Friday 1 June.

Throughout the summer, Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch is carrying out surveys to establish the range and numbers of whales, dolphins and porpoises which can be seen off the Island’s coastline.

The forthcoming diary will update people by giving monthly reports but during July, the hot month for these cetacean sightings, video clips and weekly updates will be provided.

In anticipation of the extra visitors logging on to www.visitisleofman.com with a particular interest in sea life activities the homepage will be given a ‘Coast’ theme. …

As though it was organised bythe PR department, the first sighting to be recorded in the new diary was a pod of 10 minke whales that were seen a couple of hundred metres from Bradda Head on the Isle of Man.

National whale and dolphin watch in Britain: here.