A View of the Bay (week 3)

Living Seas volunteer Andy usually spends his time conducting Dolphin Watch surveys for Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre however, due to COVID-19 all our research work from CBMWC has been put on hold. He is lucky enough to live in a flat overlooking New Quay Bay and has spent lockdown wildlife watching from his home.

Andy Dolphin Watching (Nov 19)

Well what an amazing week it’s been in New Quay! The week's unfolded like an unputdownable novel....fantastic dolphin activity, my first lockdown seal sighting, a manx shearwater frenzy, a crazy gannet day and lots of other wildlife moments.

So first let’s talk dolphins. Monday (18th), Wednesday (20th) and Sunday (24th) saw amazing dolphin activity including several mums with calves, dolphins right in the inner harbour and some great aerial displays. The leaping on Wednesday by the Cardinal Buoy was off the scale...how can they get so high from a watery take-off? All the judges were giving high scores!

Bottlenose Dolphin © Steve Hartley

On Saturday 15th I have my first Atlantic grey seal sighting of the lockdown. I first spotted it swimming and I twisted myself into pretzels to turn it into an otter but a seal it steadfastly remained until it finally 'bottled', ending the debate. So an otter sighting must wait till next week....

Atlantic Grey Seal © Dr Sarah Perry

Some onshore north-westerlies mid-week brought a bit of manx shearwater excitement...very close inshore and in numbers. Just such stunning pelagic wanderers, it always feels such a privilege to see them close like that. Sadly, one was found dead on the harbour wall the next morning which is surprising...not sure what would cause that other than attack by gulls?

It has been a fantastic week for gannet sightings but Tuesday and Friday were truly crazy, with constant multiple splashes. I was worried about the water depth given the speed of their descent...I envisaged having to pull a few out of the sand at low tide!

Max Shearwater © Jay Burk

Next mothy news. Last week was good for butterflies but this has been moth week with the star attraction being a poplar hawk moth which was hanging out in my hallway for two days. A very spectacular moth and worth a google. There's also been a yellow-underwing moth on my outside doormat.

And then, just when you thought it couldn't get any better...bats!! Friday night I sat outside my flat to watch all the activity. Two different species flittered past (flittering: technical bat watching term). Difficult to ID bats without a detector of course (one of which I've now purchased online for future encounters) but it seems likely that one was one or other of the two pipistrelle types. The other was bigger and it might have been a noctule.

Bat Detector

Finally I heard a squawking rumpus of crows outside my window on Saturday morning and looked out to see the already mentioned crows giving a visiting buzzard a jolly good pecking to see him off their property. Poor buzzard...its expression registered ' shock and caw' as you can imagine.

Until next week! Take care.