My second week of the wildlife guide experience in the North Sea with ORCA has been far more successful in terms of sightings than my first week. The weather has been perfect most days meaning there have been some very exciting sightings. Sailing into Newcastle on Thursday morning (9th June) we were lucky enough to see a Grey seal and 3 different species of dolphin, not only did we see groups of Bottlenose and White beaked dolphins but we also had our first sighting of Atlantic White sided dolphins this year!!
Notice the yellow markings on the tailstock and their unique colouring, as it dives under the calm waters.These dolphins are quite unusual in this area as they are mainly an oceanic species, which made this sighting even more exciting.
Throughout the rest of the week the calm and flat waters have meant that we have seen numerous harbour porpoise and also a few grey seals spy hopping around the boat but the waters around Newcastle have proven to be a bit if a golden area for dolphin sightings this week. As the DFDS King sailed into the North East coastline again Saturday (11th June) Rachael spotted 3 species of dolphin, but this time instead of the Atlantic white sided dolphin she saw a group of 2 common dolphins.
This brings our total cetacean sightings of the 2016 season so far up to 6.
We were joined three times this week by Delta Safari, a Dutch ornithological society, who were able to come out for 5 deck watches with us. Not only were they fantastic at helping us spot birds off of the boat including a group of puffins on Saturday morning but they also spotted a group of over 20 harbour porpoises feeding near the wind farm off of the coast of Ijmuiden on Sunday morning. We are hoping that when they return back from their trip with ORCA on Saturday 25th they will be lucky charms all over again and help us see lots of exciting wildlife.
On Monday and Tuesday (13th and 14th June) Beacon Hill school returned to the ORCA wildlife center on DFDS King Seaways, this is the second time we have seen them on a trip to Amsterdam and were lucky to have them join us for 3 deck watches, unfortunately the calm seas of the days before disappeared and we didn’t see any cetaceans, however we did see a lot of sea birds and even saw two gannets catching a ride across the North Sea on a wooden crate!
Until next week,