Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Spate of Fin whale sightings off Irish Coast

Fin whales concentrating along Waterford coast - Courtesy of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)

December 2010. There has been a steady flow of sightings of Fin whales in the past month off Waterford in South East Ireland.

Andrew Malcolm reports from the mine shafts area just east of Bunmahon, at least 6 fin whales, some of whom were so close inshore that on one occasion they could be heard "blowing" within 400m of the shore. None of the others were >1KM out. This is exceptional behaviour for the planet's 2nd largest animal. IWDG member Declan Clarke has been recording almost daily fin whale activity from Bunmahon in recent weeks.

2 year trend as herring shoals gather - Humpbacks may be attracted

This is a very interesting development and suggests the beginning of a trend in the past two years of these large whales gathering much further to the east of their former West Cork haunts. Local fishermen are reporting large densities of herring gathering in this area. But it is still early in the season for herring and it is likely that as they aggregate in even larger shoals to spawn over the coming months that they will attract larger numbers of fin whales, and let's hope some humpback whales too.

It's great to see the southeast getting such reliable large whale sightings for the second consecutive year, and IWDG would encourage local recorders to report any sightings to Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)

Commercial Whale watching trips are available out of Dunmore East by Skipper Martin Colfer of the MV Rebecca C, Ph. 087-2657177. But places like Youghal would be excellent locations to view whales currently off East Cork and West Waterford.

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