Tuesday, 31 May 2011

MARINElife & CEFAS Surveys: Bristol Channel - Cornwall - Celtic Deep - SW Ireland

31ST MAY 2011
South West Ireland

2 Pomarine skua seen during a trawl 60 miles SW of Mizen Head (South West Ireland) at 11:32 hrs; 50+ European Storm Petrel were also seen during this trawl between 12:25 and 13:15 hrs; one dark Pomarine Skua at 13:20 hrs - this bird did not have as long a tail as an adult Pomarine so it may have been a juvenile or a dark morph; 9 European Storm Petrel were seen during a second trawl 35 miles SSW from Mizen Head between 17:45 to 18:16 hrs;

1 Humpback Whale was seen 43 miles S of Mizen head at 18:20 hrs. This individual was seen head slapping and the pectoral fins were clearly seen albeit very briefly. Sea state 3-5, wind direction SW-NW.
Humpback Whale

30TH MAY 2011
South West Ireland
3 European Storm Petrel seen behind the boat whilst trawling 18 miles S of Galley Head at 07.34 hrs; One adult Pomarine Skua was also seen during this trawl at 07:49 hrs. Sea state 3-7, wind direction W-NW.

29TH MAY 2011
North Cornwall
8 European Storm Petrel seen behind the boat whilst trawling 60 miles WNW of Trevose Head (Northern Cornwall) at 10.09 hrs.

Ireland, off Cork
1 Pomarine Skua observed 36.5 miles ESE of Power Head, near Cork. First sighted hovering about 5 metres from the Bridge, it stayed there for some time before circling the boat several times. We had fantastic views of its head, tail, upper and under wings. Sea state 3-6, wind direction SW-WSW.
Pomarine Skua

28TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, Mine Head to the Celtic Deep
1 Minke Whale seen in the distance 8 miles ESE of Mine Head at 06:33 hrs; 9 Bottlenose Dolphin all came in to bow ride the ship 34 miles SE of Mine Head at 10:04 hrs.

Fantastic views were had of 21 Fin Whale seen blowing and rolling at the surface - 2 were first seen as we were approaching (6 miles from) the Celtic Deep and we continued to see groups of 2-14 Fin Whale as we entered the Celtic Deep. Also seen was one unidentified Baleen Whale which appeared on the bow but only seen very briefly.

Later that day between 18:52 and 19:38 hrs, c.57 miles NW of Newquay, Cornwall, 206 Common Dolphin were encountered, all individuals came in to bow ride the ship. 1 Minke Whale was also seen with this group of dolphins at 19:33 hrs, seen surfacing several times 50-500 metres from the bow. Sea state 3-4, wind direction predominantly SW.

27TH MAY 2011
South Wales
3 Puffin (juvenile) were seen sat on the water c.100m from the boat 8 miles NE of Worms Head, Gower Peninsula at 06:25 hrs. 4 Puffin (adult) were also seen 4 miles WNW of Lundy Island between 08:42 and 09:50 hrs. One juvenile Puffin also flew past us (<10 m from the bridge) in this area at 08:40 hrs; 13 Puffin (adults) were also seen 16 miles NE of Stockholm Island between 09:03 and 09:49 hrs, we had stopped in this area during this period whilst plankton and oceanography data were being collected. Sea state 4-5, wind direction WNW-NW.

2 Common Dolphin seen at 08:48, 09:11 and 14:31 hrs approx. 9 miles SW from the northern tip of Lundy Island. These were possibly the same two individuals as we remained in close proximity to the area they were first sighted from 08:48 to 14:31; on each occassion they came in to bow ride the ship. 1 Balearic Shearwater was also seen off Lundy at 15:05 hrs.
During a transect running NW between 17:45 hrs (23 miles ESE of North Lundy) and 21:12 hrs (7 miles NE of Smalls Lighthouse) we encountered continuous groups of 5 - 28 Common Dolphin which all came in to bow ride (c.75 Common Dolphin in total), with the last group seen at 12:12. 1 Minke Whale was seen surfacing on several occassions and presumed to be feeding. Sea state/wind force 4-5, wind direction WNW - NW.

After an incredible few days of sightings, the survey team are hoping for more cetacean sightings today when they head out to the shelf edge. You can follow the survey route of R.V. Cefas Endeavour

Monday, 30 May 2011

29TH MAY 2011
Devon, Start Point

Seawatch 09:00-12:00. Similar conditions to previous day. Birds heading SW.
Balearic Shearwater, 431 Manx Shearwaters, 110 European Storm-petrels, Bonxie, 35 Puffins (largest group five), 13 Razorbills and 152 Guillemots. Also a Basking Shark close in under the cliffs at the end of Start Bay. Sightings provided by Mark Darlaston.

28TH MAY 2011
Devon, Start Point
Seawatch 13:30-17:00. WSW 5-6 wind with occasional drizzle, birds all heading SW out of Lyme Bay.
3 Balearic Sheawaters, 1020 Manx Shearwaters, 54 European Storm-petrels, 14 Puffins, 14 Razorbills and 112 Guillemots. Sightings provided by Mark Darlaston.

Dorset, Chesil Cove
1 Basking Shark seen in the morning a few hundred yards out heading towards the island. Sighting provided by Paul Harris.

27TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, ~4nm East of Gwennap Head
1 Basking Shark (5m) observed breaching at 15:08 hrs. Sighting reported by Duncan Jones, skipper of Shearwater II, Marine Discovery Penzance.

Cornwall, Lands End
3 Bottlenose Dolphin (adults) seen at 13:15 hrs swimming side by side very close in to shore, approx. 20m, headed around towards Sennen, travelling West. 1 Basking Shark also observed earlier that day at 10:00 hrs. Sightings reported by Kathryn Driscoll.

25TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, Lands End
1 Basking Shark seen feeding at 17:00 hrs. Sighting reported by Kathryn Driscoll.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

MARINElife & CEFAS Survey: English Channel Transects

Despite the first week of transect surveys being hampered by strong winds and a 4+ metre swell, the MARINElife surveys onboard R.V. Cefas Endeavour have got off to a great start. The survey team departed Lowestoft on 18th May and followed pre-determined cross Channel transects West towards Cornwall on 25th May. Highlights of seabird and cetacean species recorded during the daily surveys so far are listed below:

25TH MAY 2011
3 Bottlenose Dolphin appeared off the bow for a couple of seconds then disappeared, were not seen bow riding. 1 Balearic Shearwater and 1 Puffin seen off Land's End, Cornwall.

24TH MAY 2011
1 Cory's Shearwater seen 46.1 miles off Lizard Point at 20:28hrs (sea state/wind force 2, wind direction NNE) and 1 Common Tern (1st summer) seen during cross Channel transect.

23RD MAY 2011
1 Great Shearwater seen 41 miles from Ile D'Ouessant at 15:28hrs and 1 Sooty Shearwater seen 31 miles from Ile D'Ouessant at 14:03hrs (sea state/wind force 7, wind direction south westerly) during a cross Channel transect.

20TH MAY 2011
1 Cory's Shearwater seen in outer Lyme Bay at 18:18hrs (sea state/wind force 4, wind direction westerley) and 1 Puffin seen during cross Channel transect.

With the English Channel transects almost complete, R.V. Cefas Endeavour will head to the Bristol Channel today for the next stage of the research cruise. Sightings reported by Becky Scott, Steve Hughes and Cheryl Yarham.

Monday, 23 May 2011

23rd MAY
Start Point
Seawatch 10:30-16:00, good seabird passage heading SW included: 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2135 Manx Shearwaters, 86 European Storm-petrels, 15 Puffins, 23 Razorbills, 191 Guillemots, 150 Gannets, 37 Fulmars, Whimbrel and a Bonxie (which at one point was soaring over the lighthouse! see photo).

11TH MAY- Reposting this news as it was deleted when Blogger crashed.
30nm SSE of Start Point
Seen from Dartangler: an unseasonal Sooty Shearwater in moult (photo), also 2 Bonxies, 20+ European Storm-petrels (photo).
21ST MAY 2011
Dorset, Portland Bill
8 Bottlenose Dolphin observed at 16:15 travelling from East to West into Lyme Bay. Also 4 Kestrel, 2 Song Thrush and 1 Oystercatcher recorded. Sightings and images provided by Rick Morris.
Bottlenose Dolphins seen off Portland Bill
Bottlenose Dolphin with distinctive notches in its dorsal fin - useful for photo-identification.
You can view MARINElife's Bottlenose and White-beaked Dolphin Photo-ID catalogue here.

Mid-channel, 32nm SSE of Portsmouth Harbour
Basking Shark observed as it fed around the boat for some time. Sighting reported by Matt Horne, skipper of Optimist, Gosport.

Friday, 20 May 2011

20TH MAY 2011

Devon, 7 miles SW of Start Point
A more playful pod of 15-20 Common Dolphin encountered again this afternoon at 4:45pm, swimming alongside the boat. Sighting reported by Ian Noble, skipper of Samuel Irvin 3, Dartmouth.

Devon, 19 miles SSW of Start Point
15-20 Common Dolphin observed at 11:30am. Sighting reported by Ian Noble, skipper of Samuel Irvin 3, Dartmouth.

Middle of Lyme Bay, 18 miles South of Lyme Regis
2 Dolphin species surfaced briefly in the wake of the boat then followed the boat for a short while at a distance. Choppy sea and brief sighting prevented identification. Sighting reported by Rob King, skipper of Blue Turtle, Lyme Regis.
19TH MAY 2011
Lyme Bay, 17 miles South of Seaton
2 White-beaked Dolphin encountered in the middle of Lyme Bay. They were very playful and came very close, staying with the boat for 20 minutes. Sighting reported by John Wallington, skipper of Outcast, Seaton.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

19TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, off Penzance
1 Minke Whale (adult) observed travelling south at 11:40 hrs 3.5nm ESE of Gwennap Head and 1 Basking Shark feeding at 16:10 hrs off Lamorna Cove. Sightings reported by Duncan Jones of Marine Discovery Penzance.
18TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Hengistbury Head
5+ Bottlenose Dolphin
observed just off Hengistbury Head. Sighting reported by Darren Hughes.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

16TH MAY 2011
Lyme Bay, 11 miles South of Seaton, Devon
1 European Storm Petrel, 3 Manx Shearwater and 3 Kittiwake seen during an angling trip. Sighting reported by John Wallington, skipper of Outcast, Seaton.

Monday, 16 May 2011

15TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, off Penzance
1 Basking Shark (4m) observed feeding at 14:59 hrs just off Lamorna Cove. Sighting reported by Duncan Jones, skipper of Shearwater II, Marine Discovery Penzance.
14TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Lyme Bay, ~1nm SSW of Lyme Regis
8 Bottlenose Dolphin observed just off Lyme Regis.  Sighting reported by Harry May, skipper of Marie F, Lyme Regis. 

Dorset, Lyme Bay, 1/4 mile South of Lyme Regis
Approx. 6 Bottlenose Dolphin observed feeding at 10:15am.  Sighting reported by Rob King, skipper of Blue Turtle, Lyme Regis.

Dorset, Lyme Bay, 1 mile off Seatown
4 Bottlenose Dolphin seen travelling West. Sighting reported by Ian Cornwell, skipper of Huntress II, West Bay.

11TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Osmington Mills, Weymouth
A stranded White-beaked Dolphin discovered at Osmington Mills. The animal has been measured and the record sent to Rob Deaville at UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme. Stranding information and photographs provided by Steve Trewella, UK Coastal Wildlife.

11TH MAY 2011
Cornwall, Penzance
2 Harbour Porpoise (adult) observed travelling in a North East direction at 14:17 hrs 4nm South of Penzance. Later that day, 15 Bottlenose Dolphin (13 adult, 2 juvenile) encountered socialising/resting at 17:24 hrs 0.78nm ESE of Penzance Harbour. Sighting reported by Hannah & Duncan Jones of Marine Discovery Penzance.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

BBC Inside Out Programme Featuring MARINElife

MARINElife joins BBC 1's Inside Out Programme in Lyme Bay - Broadcast 6 June 2011

MARINElife had the opportunity to join the team of primetime BBC One programme Inside Out during their filming in Lyme Bay. The programme will be broadcast on June 6 2011.

Chris Packham of hit BBC series Springwatch spent a day with MARINElife in Lyme Bay, filming the seabirds and chatting with MARINElife Chair of Trustees/senior researcher Adrian Shephard. Frustratingly, no White-beaked Dolphins were seen, but plenty of birds were recorded including Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots, Razorbills and a Great Skua (see sightings entry 21 April 2011 below for full count of seabirds recorded during Opportunistic Survey).
The series will start transmitting on BBC One on May 30th in the South West, West and South regions. The first programme will be about farming, then the marine programme broadcast on June 6th, followed by a woodlands episode on June 13th.

Don't forget to set your TV recorders!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

10th MAY 2011
Start Point
Late pm: 1 European Storm-petrel and  50+ Manx Shearwaters all SW
8TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Lyme Bay, ~22nm South of West Bay
3 Common Dolphin encountered at 05:30am. We were on a 43' yacht sailing from Dartmouth to Isle of Wight crossing Lyme Bay, when a single Common Dolphin started leaping out of water and spinning back slapping water, close to the boat, two other Common Dolphins joined it and swam alongside, in front of and under our yacht, eventually after 5 minutes one left and remaining two stayed with boat for at least 3 or 4 minutes. Weather was cloudy, Force 4 winds, sea was choppy, 1-2m swell. I got a real feeling the dolphins were watching me as I leant over the side, fascinating creatures. Sighting reported by Don Munro.

Monday, 9 May 2011

7TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Portland Bill
3 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua and 1 Wheatear observed by Sharon and Rick Morris.

Friday, 6 May 2011

6TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Weymouth
A solitary Bottlenose Dolphin encountered again outside Weymouth Harbour at 8am this morning. Sighting reported by Chris Caines, skipper of Tiger Lily, Weymouth.

5TH MAY 2011
Dorset, Weymouth
A single Bottlenose Dolphin encountered just off the entrance to Weymouth Harbour at 4pm. Sighting reported by Paul Dallaway, skipper of White Motor Boats, Weymouth.
Bottlenose Dolphin

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

MARINElife & CEFAS team up for Offshore Survey of Western Channel, Celtic Sea and Northern Bay of Biscay

MARINElife has teamed up with CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) to undertake a 3 week offshore research survey of the Western Channel, Celtic Sea and Northern Bay of Biscay.

On 18th May 2011 three MARINElife volunteers will join the multidisciplinary research team aboard RV Cefas Endeavour to collect effort-related cetacean and seabird sightings data. From the food–rich waters at the mouth of the Loire Estuary off the Brittany Coast out to the edge of the continental shelf off south west Ireland, this epic voyage is likely to deliver an excellent variety of marine wildlife. Cetacean species likely to be encountered include White-beaked Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, Minke Whale, Long-finned Pilot Whale and Fin Whale, with Humpback Whale and White-sided Dolphin also possibilities. Migratory seabirds encountered are likely to include Cory’s Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Pomarine Skua and Long-tailed Skua.

A school of Common Dolphin bow-riding RV Cefas Endeavour
during an offshore survey of Haig Fras in January-February 2011.

Cetacean and seabird sightings data collected by MARINElife will complement the pelagic fish and plankton surveys and oceanographic data collected by CEFAS during this survey with an aim to link cetacean and seabird distribution to prey availability. Data collected will also contribute towards the Interreg IV CHARM III Project.

This scientifically crucial survey will operate from 18 May until 9 June and regular updates of the species encountered will be posted here so please bookmark this page and become a follower.
27TH APRIL 2011
Hampshire, 13.7nm SSE of Gosport
3 Arctic Skua observed during a fishing trip by Matt Horne, skipper of Optimist, Gosport.

26TH APRIL 2011
Dorset, Poole Bay
6 Bottlenose Dolphin encountered at 17:40 off Poole No.2 Buoy. Sighting reported by Chris Mowlam, skipper of Rapid Return, Poole.

25TH APRIL 2011
Doreset, Hengistbury Head
The group of ca10 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen again off Hengistbury Head this morning.  Sighting provided by David Taylor of Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG).

Channel Islands, Jersey
A group of 3 Great crested Grebe seen together in Grouville Bay.

24TH APRIL 2011
Hampshire, Milford-on-Sea
The group of ca10 Bottlenose Dolphin were seen again off Milford-on-Sea.  Sighting provided by David Taylor of Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG).

Channel Islands, Jersey
40+ Bottlenose Dolphin observed off the Minquiers Reef, south of Jersey. Sighting reported by Bertram E.B. Bree.

23RD APRIL 2011
Hampshire, off Hurst Spit
A pod of ca10 Bottlenose Dolphin including a well-escorted calf was observed fishing in the bay for over an hour from 08:30-09:45. They appeared from the West, circled the bay before moving slowly into the Western Solent before turning and heading South West. There appeared to be one individual with a pale tip to the dorsal fin. Sighting reported by Steve Piggott.

Probably the same group of ca10 Bottlenose Dolphin were also seen off Hengistbury Head in the morning.  Sighting reported by Chris Chapleo and David Taylor of Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG). Click here for images.

22ND APRIL 2011
Dorset, Mudeford Quay
10-18 Bottlenose Dolphin observed by Darren Hughes. Also observed off Whitepits, near Hengistbury Head that morning. Sighting reported by David Taylor of Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG).

Lyme Bay
1 Skua species observed during a fishing trip by John Wallington, skipper of Outcast, Seaton.

21ST APRIL 2011
Lyme Bay - Opportunistic Survey during filming with Chris Packham for BBC's Inside Out  
20 Gannet, 110 Guillemot, 44 Manx Shearwater, 41 Great Black-backed Gull, 15 Herring Gull, 6 Fulmar, 4 Razorbill, 2 Swallow, 2 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 1 Great Skua, 5 Kittiwake, 2 House Martin and 3 Gull species recorded by Adrian Shephard during an Opportunistic Survey on board Samuel Irvin 3 of Dartmouth.