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Displaying items by tag: Marine Widlife

Harbours by their nature attract a myriad of marine wildlife and Bangor on Belfast Lough is no exception. Most people would associate Bangor with the guillemots that make their nests in holes in the marina wall but there is so much more.

The guillemots have been there for over one hundred years and have been fondly nicknamed "Bangor penguins" by residents. They have even given their name to a nearby café. Not only are they watched but recently an injured bird was sent to A and E! It is now in the safe hands of Debbie Dolittle's Wildlife rescue centre in Antrim, to have a splint on its leg.

A Guillemot in Bangor HarbourA Guillemot in Bangor Harbour

The most recent activity was the fledging of Rock Pipits from a nest in the inside of the Long Hole breakwater. The Long Hole used to be full of small craft but since the marina was built, is now empty. A resident in the nearby Clifdene Apartments using a powerful telescope could see right into the nest. She noticed the chicks coming out of the nest to exercise and they looked quite big, so it was no surprise when there was no activity last Saturday, the day they fledged.

The Long Hole in Bangor HarbourLong Hole in Bangor Harbour

Fiona said “ It’s amazing that these tiny birds kept their nest just a few yards from the hustle and bustle of people, bikes and dogs on the breakwater in the good weather we have been having. We are certainly blessed to have all this wildlife on our doorsteps”. Also, more recently while litter picking, she was ‘splodging’ through the wet seaweed and one of the pipits came to join her. “I suppose I was stirring up insects in the weed’ she said.

There has also been the great sight most days of numerous house martens swooping in to catch insects and dipping into the mud at low tide to get material for their nest-building nearby.

Harbour Master Kevin Baird says the staff are passionate about the wildlife that lives within the harbour estate. “Presently it is home to three otters, black guillemots, a seal, (called Sammy), a fox, pigeons, wagtails, herring gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, great black-backed gulls, black-headed gulls, common gulls, kittiwakes. shags, cormorant, and now rock pipits which is fantastic news”.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - Two months after striking up a friendship with fellow 'dolphina-non-grata' Dusty in his travels around Ireland, 'bad boy' bottlenose Clet has moved on again - this time to the west coast of Scotland.

According to the Island News & Advertiser, Clet appeared in the Sound of Mull in the Inner Hebrides during the week - his first confirmed sighting after he was seen frolicking with Dusty in Galway Bay - making for a rare sighting of a solitary dolphin in the area.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that Clet has been recorded in Scotland, and in fact this is the furthest north he has been recorded to date,” said Dr Conor Ryan, sightings officer with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

Pádraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) also hailed Clet's reappearance, saying: "The addition of Scotland after a two-month interval brings his known tally of passport stamps to five countries and counting, and shows the need for international collaboration when trying to monitor these highly mobile marine mammals.”

But Scottish dolphin-watchers be warned, as Clet may have been involved in an act of aggression towards swimmers near Galway city in early October.

The Island News & Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A juvenile humpback whale sighting off West Cork provided a St Patrick's weekend surprise for cetacean watchers.

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley writes on the discovery made off the Stags on the afternoon of Monday 18 March, which was verified by IWDG members Simon Duggan, Youen Yacob and Robbie Murphy.

Photo ID images captured at the scene allowed experts to confirm the whale is a newcomer to Irish waters, bringing the known total to 22 and continuing a growing trend.

Whooley also notes the unusual nature of the sighting, coming some months after the busy humpback whale activity in the area previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Those whales weren't seen again after that flurry of breaching and bubble-netting off Baltimore - presumably because being an older group, they were drawn south by their migratory instinct to the tropical feeding grounds.

In contrast, this likely juvenile - named Baltimore - may have opted to winter in higher latitudes to avoid competition with bigger counterparts, something that a group of humpbacks in the Norwegian fjords have also chosen to do this year.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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