Saturday, 27 July 2013

National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2013 - Day 1

The Safari put the moth trap out last night and got a respectable haul this morning, for Base Camp at least.
Excluding escapes of which there were a few we had almost 100 moths of 24 species although about half were Water Veneers all of which were dead! Apparently they don't fare well in the trap - you don't say!
They could well be breeding, wingless females, on the Elodea canadensis in our pond.
We had a few unIDs which we could do with a little help with to take us over 25 species -  anyone know/confirm IDs?
Very small c5-6mm

Pretty sure this one is Double Striped Pug
Probably Grey Pug?
No idea!
We do know these two, Common Rustics at the palest end of their colour/pattern spectrum.
 Yellow Shell is a belter, if only butterflies were that well coloured
and as for Acleris forsskaleana - what a gorgeously golden little beauty.
Moths done and for the most part dusted we headed to the coast for the first of our NWDW events. A good turn-out awaited us no doubt due to the recent off the end of the pier sightings of the Bottle Nosed Dolphins all week. We didn't think there'd been any sightings yesterday but one couple said they'd seen them off Central Pier.
Today was a little different, the tide started to rise and the wind picked up and swung round a full 180 degrees. Very little was about and it took a while to find so much as a tern and a couple of Cormorants. As the tide reached the wall a Grey Seal appeared from nowhere, apparently they are the second scarcest seal in the world. It hung around for the rest of the watch.
16 Grey Lag Geese came in from the north and landed on the sea about a mile and a half out - strange before heading off back northwards and reappearing an hour later to fly in to the estuary.
More weird was a bloke, 80 if he was a day, clad in a wet suit walked past and through the locked gate and in to the sea. He swam past the seal but we were very worried for him when a speeding jet-ski whooshed past probably without seeing him in the chop - coulda been nasty!
Sadly the Bottle Nosed Dolphins didn't show. We also learned that four Minke Whales had been seen last Saturday away to the south. An 'independent' group of spotters were a few yards further don the wall and we had to go to chat to them. They told us they'd been watching the dolphins at the town centre during the week and also been amazed to see the Minke Whales near the Lennox Rig. It appears we missed them by not much more than half an hour on Wednesday lunchtime; perhaps we'd spent too much time looking the other way watching the dolphins. They described them lunge feeding with a large portion of their bodies rising out of the water, similar to what we saw one do a few years ago...ooohhhh jealous but very chuffed for them.
Where to next? Day 2 of course, at a different location...probably no moths tonight, torrential rain forecast - can we have some thunder too please.
In the meantime let us know what snuck out of your outback while you weren't' looking

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