Displaying items by tag: IWDG
A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) made the discovery at Aillebrack in Co Galway on the evening of 27 May.
The 5m carcass of a female - like the female and juvenile found in the northwest - is thought to be either a True's or Sowerby's beaked whale.
Mick O'Connell, strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), says the latest stranding "raises new questions", with suspicion that its death may be linked to the face of the Donegal pair earlier this month.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, beaked whales are a rare occurrence in Irish waters, with the last record before this month' stranding made in 2009.
#MarineWildlife - A gray whale has been sighted many thousands of miles from its usual Pacific swimming grounds in the South Atlantic.
As Pádraig Whooley writes on the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) website, the whale was spotted in the last week in Walvis Bay, Namibia - only the second ever confirmed sighting of the marine species in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first south of the equator, since records began.
Previously a solitary gray whale was tracked in the Mediterranean in May 2010 from the coast of Israel to Barcelona in north-eastern Spain.
That was the first time a gray whale had been seen anywhere east of the Pacific Ocean following the presumed extinction of the Atlantic gray whale in the 17th century.
Whooley calls the latest sighting "a fascinating discovery" and says it "points strongly towards a dramatic shift in distribution facilitated by climate change.
"This is a timely reminder that we should never assume to know what species occur in our local waters, especially when this species seems to have literally come back from the dead."
#MarineWildlife - Seven dolphins and two beaked whales have stranded on beaches in the northwest in events described as "unusual" by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
On the Mullet Peninsula, a group of seven common dolphins - comprising five adults and two juveniles - live stranded at Tarmon Beach on Sunday 12 May.
Though initial attempts to refloat them were successful, one of the juveniles was later found dead and the other was euthanised due to poor health.
Meanwhile in Donegal, the fresh carcass of a female True's or Sowerby's beaked whale was found on Sunday evening on Five Fingers Stand at Inishowen - some days after a reported live stranding of a Sowerby's beaked whale on the Welsh coast.
The Inishowen stranding was followed yesterday 14 May by the discovery of a dead beaked whale calf at Trawbreaga Bay, in what is believed to be a connected stranding.
Samples of the adult female were taken in order to confirm the species, either of which would mark a rare cetacean record for Ireland - the first since 2009.
As the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow relates, it was not an auspicious start on 2 May 1993 when the first research trip on the estuary returned after five hours without having seen a single cetacean.
But the following day brought a bounty, with 16 dolphins across three different groups located by the IWDG - the beginning of two decades of sightings and recordings for the Shannon Dolphin Project, which has identified around 230 individual dolphins to date.
Thanks to that project, we know today that at least six of those dolphins first seen in 1993 are still in the estuary as of last year.
The Shannon Dolphin Project now has a website explaining its achievements and the work of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (SDWF) over the years.
Meanwhile, Afloat reader Karl Grabe has also produced a spectrogram and edit of hydrophone recordings captured by Dr Berrow of Shannon dolphins just a few weeks ago.
Grabe previously uploaded a wonderful snippet of dolphins vocalising in the estuary late last year.
Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) explained that it's not unusual for dolphins to forage for food in waterways that feed into the estuary, though they usually return to the main catchment on their own shortly after.
With fears that their acoustic abilities were impaired, preventing them from navigating downstream past a series of bridges and concrete pillars between them and the main watercourse, a rescue attempt had been planned for late last week.
But as the Clare People reports, this was called off as the dolphins were spotted less and less frequently in the area.
Later hydrophone tracking by the IWDG led experts to discover that the cetaceans were able to come and go as they pleased.
Despite this, dolphins only have a limited ability to survive in fresh water, and can develop serious kidney and skin problems if exposed for a significant length of time.
#MarineWildlife - An upcoming research cruise by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is set to follow the path of a famous whaling voyage embarked on by an Irish Times journalist more than 100 years ago.
The paper reports on the pending mission by the marine wildlife charity's Celtic Mist research vessel that will retrace the movements of Crawford Hartnell from the site of what was then a Norwegian whaling station in the Inishkea Islands off the Mullet Peninsula in Mayo to a point 160km west where Hartnell report the harpooning of two whales.
Hartnell's accounts of his whaling adventure are remembered today for their blood-soaked vividness - but the IWDG's advances are altogether more friendly.
Rather than harpoon their quarry, the researchers on board the Celtic Mist will be on the lookout for baleen and beaked whales to count - and will also be teaching IWDG members how to identify species, how to carry out sea-bound surveys and how to use hydrophones to identify cetaceans by the sounds they make beneath the waves.
The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), which has been tracking the group, believes they originated from a larger group populating the estuary.
As the IWDG's Simon Berrow explains, such dolphins are known to forage for food in rivers that feed into the estuary, and will return to the main catchment on their own.
While the risk of stranding in the shallower waters of rivers is unlikely, there is growing concern that the dolphins have been in the area for longer than expected.
"We can't rule out the possibility that their acoustic abilities may be impaired by the series of bridges and concrete pillars that span one of the bridges, and that they may be finding it difficult to navigate as a result of an 'acoustic trap'," says Berrow.
The IWDG says it is in discussion with the National Parks and Wildlife Service as to what options are available to step in to shepherd the trio back to the Shannon Estuary if necessary.
#SeismicSurvey - The Irish Times reports that the European Commission has demanded an explanation from the State regarding the absence of environmental impact assessments for seismic surveys off the west coast.
The action comes following a complaint lodged in Brussels by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) in the wake of the recommencing of seismic surveys over the Corrib gas field last month.
As Irish waters are a designated whale and dolphin sanctuary, the IWDG's position is that the State must comply with the EU directive to conduct an environmental impact assessment when licensing such ocean-bound surveys.
The group says it received word from the EC that the issue has been raised with the Department of Energy, and reiterated the need for "strict protection" of cetaceans in Irish and all EU waters.
Last December the IWDG expressed concerns over the potential impact of a 2D seismic survey on harbour porpoises in the Kish Bank Basin in Dublin Bay.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Providence Resources subsequently suspended its licence to explore for oil and gas at what was termed the Dalkey Island Prospect.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
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.
The Southern Star reports on the 'Discover Wildlife Weekends' being run from Rosscarbery by local company Ireland's Wildlife starting this April, where those taking part will be led by expert guides to explore the coastal region and have the best opportunities to spot the many species of whales and dolphins that visit our shores.
Weather permitting, the weekends will also involve some offshore whale watching in the company of 'whale watch supremo' Colin Barnes and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
And birdwatching will also be a feature, as West Cork is a hotspot for our feathered friends - from merlins and peregrine falcons to coastal waders and more exotic fowl that skirt our coasts on their spring migrations.
The Southern Star has much more on the story HERE.
Meanwhile, marine sector stakeholders have expressed their concerns over the designation of six new offshore marine areas by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six sites at Blackwater Bank in Wexford, the West Connacht coast, Hempton's Turbot Bank in Donegal, the Porcupine Bank Canyon off Kerry, the South-East Rockall Bank, and the stretch from Rockabill to Dalkey Island off Dublin have been proposed for designation as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect marine habitats and species listed on the 1992 EU Habitats Directive.
But at a recent meeting at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin, a coalition of fish farmers, fishermen and marine energy stakeholders have hit out at what they characterise as "the appalling handling of inshore designations since the 1990s by the State", which they claim "has resulted in hundreds of job losses and a flight of serious investment" from Ireland's coastal areas.
“Our experience of the Irish Government’s application of the EU Habitats Directive has been a saga of mismanagement, foot dragging and buck-passing which has left over 500 fish farming licences in limbo for over 10 years and a backlog of red tape and bureaucracy which could see producers waiting until 2020 and beyond for simple renewals which are vital to underpin their businesses," said IFA aquaculture executive Richie Flynn.