Friday, 16 July 2010

ORCA Biscay Survey

Earlier in the week I led a cetacean survey across the Bay of Biscay and English Channel aboard the Brittany Ferry Pont Avon which leaves from Plymouth goes to Santander and returns to Portsmouth. The survey was run for Organisation Cetacea . The weather should have been good from the look of the isobar distances on the BBC weather site but seemed to be contradicted from the info provided by the shipping forecast. So I plumped for not really knowing what to expect and would just see what happened, hoping that the sea state would be a good calm one to give the survey team the best chance of seeing whales, dolphins and porpoises. As it turned out the sea state was great for the majority of the trip.

And ended up just getting better.

10_07_12_biscay_003_sea_state1 However we had frustratingly long gaps in between our cetacean sightings and whilst we clocked up a commendable 6 species we didn’t really see that many animals. We managed to record, Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Sperm Whale, Minke Whale and an unidentified Beaked Whale along with Basking Shark. And for the bird lovers a smattering of species, Balearic, Manx and Cory’s Shearwaters, Great and Arctic Skua a Black Kite a few Common Terns and Gannets.


This shot of one of the Sperm Whales show the distinctive low angled and sideways blow, the glint in the water to the right of the blow is the start of the dorsal ridge.

The survey trips are always good fun and it is certainly a privilege to be able to look from the bridge. Role on August 20th when I m back out there again.

1 comment:

Greenie said...

John ,
Two bits of good luck .
The bird and the calm Bay of Biscay .