Posted by: orcaweb | August 15, 2016

Little luck & little spotters

Unfortunately this week we have been struggling to get out on deck as often as we would like because of the consistent bad weather. During this week we have spent approximately 3 hours out on deck which does not make for good chances of sightings.

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Rough seas

Considering that we are in the middle of August and should be seeing plenty of animals… we are having no such luck. On the days we have been surveying we have not been seeing anything…

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Having little luck spotting whales & dolphins.

Even our bird numbers are lower than I would expect to be seeing at the moment. Just the odd gannet, gull and comorant.

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Cormorant

Fortunately for us though it is the summer holidays meaning plenty of passengers coming to visit us in the Wildlife Centre onboard.

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Chaos in the ORCA centre after making lots of paper plate marine animals!

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Make a small change to make a big difference.

We have had seen many ‘things’ that look like animals this week…but actually aren’t!

I like to call these shadow dolphins and rainbow dolphins! Never heard of them? Most people haven’t until you start surveying and standing on a bridge or out on deck trying to spot whales, dolphins and porpoises. What are these mysterious dolphins then I hear you ask. Well the first is quite dark in colour with no real discerning features, these I call shadow dolphins. The second, rainbow dolphins are identified by a bright shimmering patch in the water. Both ‘shadow dolphins’ and ‘rainbow dolphins’ are seen incredibly frequently as on quite a regular basis while surveying you will cry “dolphin!”… only a second later to realise you have seen a shadow or light patch in the water, as opposed to a ‘real’ dolphin species.  There is a saying that you think every wave is a porpoise until you spot an actual porpoise and then you know exactly what you have seen.

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A harbour porpoise surfacing (stock photograph)

We were promised that the weather would pick up by Saturday, though we had no sunshine the sea had definitely calmed and this meant we were able to spend a little bit more time out on deck before the end of this week.

As I got off the ship on Sunday morning the seas were flat and calm and there is promise of much better weather next week so I am keeping my fingers crossed for you Rebecca and Weng that the next week brings more sightings and sunshine for you to enjoy than we have had this week.

Last night however I heard from Rebecca that she and Weng had seen 28 animals… 3 seals and a mixture of harbour porpoise and white-beaked dolphins. This sounds like a great start to your week onboard! Let’s hope it continues for you.

If you like the sound of spotting whales, dolphins, porpoise & seals with us why not join one of our marine mammal surveyor courses this autumn and join us out on one of our many ferry and cruise ship survey routes!

Kerry

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