This week has been an interesting one! I have been joined by our first placement trainee of the year, Ellie, who has enthusiastically joined in with both the surveying and the activities in the Wildlife centre. Welcome on-board Ellie! I hope you enjoy your time with us.
The week started off quietly, with just a couple of harbour porpoises popping their heads up for us to spot. Ellie and I were then joined by Katrina (ORCA’s data officer) who had brought us some new GPS equipment to use while we survey. Alongside training in how to use it, I think she was a little bit of a lucky charm for us as she brought us some more views of harbour porpoise, which are always a pleasure to see!
Along with the harbour porpoise sightings this week, we had some more lovely bird sightings. Just inside the breakwater at Ijmuiden port we were lucky enough to see a flock of avocets.
Although this was the end of the sightings for us Wildlife Officers out on the observation deck with the passengers, it was not the end of the sightings. Over the weekend we were joined by a Marine Mammal Surveyor team. Their sightings started off slowly with just a couple of harbour porpoise, and a few small cetaceans being spotted! They were however treated to a spectacular view of a pod of 12 dolphins just before we entered the breakwater into North Shields port! This pod, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a mixed pod of both white-beaked and bottlenose dolphins!
I may have just said that the Wildlife Officers had no more sightings… When I wrote most of this blog last night that fact was true. However, after the amazing mixed pod of white-beaked and bottlenose dolphins seen by the survey team arriving into North Shields port two days ago we wanted to see if they were still there! Ellie was surveying from the observation deck with the passengers and I had just popped up to the bridge to speak to the Chief Officer when all of a sudden I saw splashing and we were treated to a spectacular sight of breaching bottlenose dolphins intermingled with white-beaked dolphins! This made all of us on the bridge incredibly happy. I headed straight down to the observation deck where I found many exceedingly happy passengers with Ellie who had all had the opportunity to spot this wonderful pod of dolphins!
I hope they stay around for you this week Rachael. Have fun!