Displaying items by tag: Padraig Whooley
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed a new humpback whale sighting, this time in Northern Ireland.
According to the IWDG, this is the third consecutive year that a humpback whale has been spotted in Northern Irish waters, with this sighting being only the fourth ever validated record for the species in the North.
IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley described it as "an important development [that] highlights a trend towards increased sightings of this large baleen whale species in Irish waters."
He also remarked on the "unusual" location of the sighting in the fast-running waters of the Strangford Narrows at the Ards Peninsula.
The discovery comes just a week after confirmed sighting of two humpback whales at the opposite end of the island of Ireland, off Galley Head in West Cork, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - This past weekend saw confirmation that two humpback whales have made an unseasonal visit to Irish waters.
As previously noted on Afloat.ie, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) had received reports of a sighting of the large cetaceans by birdwatchers off Galley Head in West Cork - an event described as "unusual" by sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
But as the Irish Independent reports, those sightings have now been confirmed after IWDG members spotted the humpback pair near The Stags at Castlehaven harbour.
The team was able to get close enough to collect skin samples as well as photo identification, which confirmed that one of the duo is completely new to these waters.
Whooley commented: "Why these two young humpbacks are here during spring, when years of data shows them to be absent in these months, is a mystery."
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - At least two humpback whales have been spotted by birdwatchers off Galley Head in West Cork, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
"This is the first time since the large whale project commenced in 1999 that humpback whales have been recorded along the Irish south or coast during April, which has been up till now the one month in which large whales have consistently been absent from our inshore waters," said IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
The timing of this sighting was described by Whooley as "unusual". He also confirmed that one of the whales was recorded off Hook Head in Co Wexford in late January and early February of this year, which dispells the hypothesis that large whales leave Irish waters after the herring season in the southeast.
Meanwhile, Whooley sounded a word of caution for anyone hoping to spot the humpbacks for themselves, as the "sheer numbers of basking sharks about" often result in false sightings.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has more on the story, including images, HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Two killer whales have been spotted near Kinsale in recent weeks, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports.
Two separate sightings of the orca pair near Barry's Head have been confirmed by the group, via photos provided by John Murphy and Richard Cussen on 5 March, during what is normally the 'low season' for whale watching in Ireland.
The pair comprises one adult male and a smaller whale which is likely an adult female. It is not yet known, however, whether the whales are new to Irish or Scottish waters.
According to the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley, it is "interesting that they have stayed close to their original position and suggests they may have found 'rich pickings'".
In other news, the Whale and Dolphin Roadshow will be at the Galway Shopping Centre from 22-25 March in time for the European Cetacean Society Conference.
The roadshow "is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about whales, dolphins and porpoise of the ASCOBANS region" that encompasses the Baltic Sea, Northeast Atlantic and Irish and North Seas.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced another series of its popular whale watching courses on Cape Clear in West Cork this summer.
The courses cater for adults keen to learn more about whales and dolphins in Irish waters and how to observe, record and identify them. They will feature a mixture of workshops and field trips, including cliff and boat-based whale watches.
Three weekend courses will take place on 25-27 May, 20-22 July and 7-9 September, led by IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley. All are open to IWDG members and non-members alike, but places are limited to 20 places each weekend on a first-come-first-served basis.
Admission is €70 for IWDG members (€90 for non-members), with a non-refundable deposit of €25 required. Please note that this fee does not cover transport to Cape Clear, food or accomodation (which is limited in high summer) or any boat trips. As the itinerary will be weather-dependant, some flexibility will be required.
More information on the weekends and booking details are available at the IWDG website HERE.
In other IWDG news, the group has secured another grant from the Island Foundation to continue its humpback whale research in Cape Verde this spring and summer.
A shore-based team will be stationed in Boa Vista in an area that is "possibly the most important site for breeding humbacks in the entire northeast Atlantic".
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has confirmed the sighting of a humpback whale off Achill Island in Co Mayo last weekend.
Surfers off Keel Beach were credited with the discovery, after spotting a large whale of 30-60ft breaking the surface multiple times, lifting its tail fluke vertically.
The sighting is only the fifth validated record of a humpback whale off the coastal area from Galway to Donegal.
"It remains something of a mystery as to why sightings of this species remain such relatively rare events along our west and northwest compared to our south and southwest coasts," says IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
"This latest sighting is a timely reminder that species such as humpbacks can and do turn up in places that are well outside what we perceive to be the known 'hotspots'."
Humpback whales tend to feed in inshore waters, which should make them increasingly easier for the public to spot from the shore, he added.
The IWDG has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - The first recorded sighting of a dolphin in an Irish lake has been reported by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), according to The Irish Times.
The dolphin was spotted in Lough Hyne, a saltwater lake near Baltimore in Co Cork by Skibbereen-based kayaking instructor Jim Kennedy, who filmed it over a number of days.
"To the best of my knowledge, and I’m open to correction, this is the first validated record of a cetacean using an Irish lake," said the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley.
Though there have been no further sightings since then, there is nothing to indicate that the dolphin has yet left the lough for the open sea.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Lough Hyne was also recently visited by a 13-metre fin whale that was sadly found beached in stormy conditions on the Sligo coast this week.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Last Tuesday heralded an incredible eight whale sighting reports off the Waterford coast, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
Sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley writes that most of the sightings have been confirmed to be fin whales, spotted close to the shore along a 20-mile stretch from Stradbally to Brownstone Head.
"For anyone interested in viewing the planet's second largest animal, clearly Co Waterford is still the place to be," he says.
But West Cork is also a hotspot for whale sightings, as BBC Autumnwatch's recent filming in the area with the IWDG illustrates.
It's expected that the large whale season will extend into February next year.
The IWDG has more on the story HERE.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced two new reports of whale spottings off the Irish coast in recent days.
On 14 October the east coast rescue helicopter spotted a group of at least five lunge-feeding whales just four miles off Dunany Point on the southern side of Dundalk Bay.
Their relatively small size, white banding on the pectoral fin and absense of any obvious blow confirmed them to be minkes - a marine wildlife record for the area.
"This is further proof, not that it is needed, that there is a growing list of places outside of the expected 'hotspots' where whale activity is now being documented," said the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley.
Yet more were spotted on the opposite coast the day after, when Nick Massett reported up to a dozen minke whales in a 1.5-mile box off Slea Head, near Dingle.
Meanwhile, this week a group of four killer whales was observed by the FV Celtic Cross on the prawn grounds off Co Louth, travelling in a north-westerly direction towards Dundalk Bay.
"There may well be something very interesting happening in this section of the Irish Sea that is attracting both baleen and toothed whale in the same area," said Whooley.
A sperm whale that beached on a sand spit in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Friday has died.
The male whale had been spotted off the coast in the 24 hours before it was discovered 'live stranded' on Cunnigar Strand.
Rescuers said there was "no effective way" of refloating the 10+ metre long whale from what became its final resting place.
"Once they come this far inshore they are pretty much doomed," the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Pádraig Whooley told the Irish Examiner.
No decision has yet been made regarding disposal of the whale carcass, but Irish Weather Online quotes Whooley as saying it is "a wasted opportunity when these magnificent specimens are simply hauled off for incineration".