12 December 2017

More Minkes…More Porpoises…

More of everything really…

Huge rafts and flocks of Manx Shearwaters all around Roaringwater Bay and the Islands, east to The Stags and south to The Fastnet. One of the key avian indicator species for Minke Whale activity at this time of the year…well they are doing their job!

The last few days has had some lovely Minke Whale sightings around “Cape” and in Long Island Bay well out towards The Fastnet Rock and Lighthouse and in Fastnet Sound. Although evidently feeding when they surface with throats distended they frequently attract little bird activity. They may be feeding very low in the water column resulting in the traditional “bait balls” at the surface not materialising. The Minke Whale is considered to have a wide range of fish species on which it feeds.

Very active porpoise groups in the area we patrol. This attractive but traditionally shy and retiring little whale entertained us all on one occasion last week by swimming under the boat (engines were off of course) giving us clear views of this cetacean swimming just under the surface of the water. Not often seen and a delight for all, adults and children alike.

Some lovely late Sunfish activity. We manoevered the boat upwind and up tide of a medium sized Sunfish last week and turned off the engines. It graced us by swimming alongside the boat and remained motionless in the water for several minutes before swimming off. With the sun behind us we had some stunning views of this unusual yet attractive mid-summer visitor to West Cork’s waters.

All this in spite of the bouts of unsettled weather that keep passing through…plenty of sunshine though and warm with it!

Bliss…!

Another Great Minke Day…

Yet another day of great Minke Whale sightings. Right inside the Gascanane Sound. Lunge feeding but quite unusually NO BIRDS at all attracted.

There has been Minke Whale activity in and around the area of The Gascanane Sound and Sherkin’s south eastern “corner” for the last 10 days almost continuously.

Lovely feeding Harbour Porpoises in the ebbing Gascanane tide race this evening. Surgeing and breaching activity…very animated!

Magic…

Sublimke Minke Whale Sightings off Sherkin Island…

Wow!

Some of the best Minke Whale sightings this year off Sherkin Island. South East corner of the Island almost in the Gascanane Sound. Two animals lunge feeding and surfacing with mouths agape and throat pleats distended. All topped off by dramatic Harbour Porpoise encounters in much the same area. Dramatic sea conditions to enhance the experience…

Quite magical and it rarely gets any better than this.

No reliable inshore sightings of Fin Whales yet off West Cork but lots of reports being sent into Whale Watch West Cork of Fin Whales in groups offshore along with Humpbacks. Common Dolphin sightings on the increase, especially in the east of the county.

Will blog as soon as we have sightings of Fin Whales inshore to report.

Anon…

More Minkes…

Blessed with some lovely sunshine around the islands this week we have had some stunning Minke Whale sightings close in around the Gascanane Sound and right into Roaringwater Bay.

Harbour Porpoise activity has increased significantly over the last couple of weeks with some fabulous feeding behaviour being exhibited east of Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands. Many young animals in evidence which is very heartening showing some animated behaviour – for a Porpoise!

Reports submitted to us these past two weeks of Fin Whale activity further offshore with further Humpback Whale sightings in the Irish Sea. Hope they all come this way!

Huge build up of Manx Shearwaters these past weeks has rafts of birds up to 500 strong with some lovely Gannet activity over feeding Minkes.

We are anticipating the August build up in Common Dolphin sightings anytime now. Several sightings so far this year but no very large groups. Lots of reports of Common Dolphins from customers crossing The Irish Sea on the ferry.

Memories still linger of the Bottlenopse Dolphin activity along this part of the West Cork coast during June and July this year…

Watch this space.

Minkes, BND’s, Fins, Humpbacks and Pilot Whales…

The last couple of days has produced sightings by us of Minke Whales off Baltimore Harbour entrance and south of Rabbit Island with a group of Bottlenose Dolphins in the harbour at Baltimore and earlier in the entrance to Union Hall harbour.

Further reports have been sent into Whale Watch West Cork of Bottlenose Dolphins off Castlepoint, around 40 Common Dolphins west of Sherkin Island and Minke Whales southwest of Cape Clear culminating in a colleague delivering a yacht from Dublin to West Cork texting me in the early hours of this morning with news of five Pilot Whales off the Tuskar Rock.

Carefully validated reports sent through to WWWC during the last week or two indicate sightings of Risso’s Dolphins off Cape Clear, a “family” group of Humpbacks in the Irish Sea and Fin Whales off Garretstown, County Cork.

Combined with the numerous Basking Shark, Harbour Porpoise and Sunfish sighting we have recorded during this early summer period it yet again shows West Cork and the southern Irish coast as a mecca for a wide variety of marine wildlife producing some excellent sightings for visitors and locals alike…

Watch this space…and our video blog for the latest sightings and updates.