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Old 17 December 2009, 05:17   #1
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100 Whales in North Wales?

This is one for all the North Wales Ribbers....if anyone can help /knows any commercial boats out and about in the area.

We contribute to a Cetacean blog working with Sea Trust (Marine arm of the S&W Wales Wildlife Trust).

A posting was made over the weekend that 100 or so Cetaceans had been spotted off Llandwyn Island. The observer said they were Whales and not Bottlenose Dolphins (our Cardigan Bay Dolphs are known to overwinter near Liverpool and are often active in N Wales this time of year....)

Speculation was they must be Bottlenose Dolphs and that scale was difficult to judge...a great sighting nevertheless.

However, they were reportedly spotted again yesterday in a similar area - between Llandwyn and Nefyn, and were reported to be blowing sea water i.e Whales.

I am sorely tempted to run up there myself and see what we can find, although am struggling for time.....

Really long shot (as i'm sure it would be posted on here if they had been seen), but can anyone help? Has anyone seen anything / Know anyone who has or possibly who might be active in that area at present?

Dan
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Old 17 December 2009, 13:56   #2
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Can't help with your sighting, but on the west US coast, we get Risso Dolphins, which cruise in occasionally sizeable pods. They are usually slow moving, rather timid, and they lack a rostrum (which makes them look like whales rather than dolphins); I quite often hear boaters reporting "herds of small whales" as they come into Monterey Bay.

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Old 17 December 2009, 15:19   #3
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Rissos is a strong possibility

Thanks JKY...

Rissos is a definate possibility...Christmas has historically (although they have been present all year this year) been a good time for spotting them in Pembs...this sighting was North Wales, but not far in cetacean terms. To that end, the observer had been asked if the "Whales" had large dorsals...but she had said not (not conclusive, but would expect dorsals to 'feature' in a Rissos sighting).

That said, there has been an increase in squid eggs being laid on lobster pots /ropes and Sea Trust have previously observed that this directly correlates with increased Risso sightings...due to them feeding on the adults.

Since posting I have spoken with a number of guys in N. Wales and nobody has seen anything.... my bet would be a large (probably not 100) pod of either Bottlenose or Risso's....water spouting was probably a red herring.

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Old 18 December 2009, 11:54   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Worth View Post
To that end, the observer had been asked if the "Whales" had large dorsals...but she had said not (not conclusive, but would expect dorsals to 'feature' in a Rissos sighting).
..water spouting was probably a red herring.
Dorsal fins on Risso's are pretty obvious.

They do, when working hard (either swimming or playing), spout to at least some degree - not a large column like, say, a humpback whale; but you will get a definite cloud of spray and vapor a few feet above the animal.

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