02/10/11: 50 bottlenose dolphins and 11 Atlantic grey seals

All day survey. Start time 08:19
Weather conditions: sea state 1-4, visibility >10km/1-10km, light swell
50 bottlenose dolphins and 11 Atlantic grey seals

The first sighting of the survey occurred within the first ten minutes and was of one adult bottlenose dolphin foraging off the fish factory. An Atlantic grey seal was also seen at this location, further offshore, in the water. The second Atlantic grey seal sighting was of a male in the water further along the coast off New Quay headland. The forth sighting of the day was off Ynys Lochtyn and was off a male Atlantic grey seal. The second bottlenose dolphin sighting of the day was in Aberporth bay. The two adult dolphins were seen foraging, tail-slapping, leaping and bow riding. As we continued our route down the coast we encountered two more Atlantic grey seals one male off Aberporth headland and female off Mwnt. A mother-calf bottlenose dolphin pair was seen foraging, leaping and bow-riding off Mwnt. As we moved offshore from Mwnt we had four rather exciting bottlenose dolphin encounters which kept us occupied for over an hour and a half. The first of these, and our forth bottlenose dolphin sighting of the day, was off eight adults and one calf which were seen foraging. The group were spread out when first sighted but started leaping, tail-slapping and skimming right beside the boat. The next group of nine bottlenose dolphins including five adults, one juvenile and three calves were seen leaping and breaching whilst travelling alongside the boat. Another group of four adults and one calf were seen further offshore foraging, carrying out percussive behaviour and socialising. The final encounter of bottlenose dolphins in this area was off eight bottlenose dolphins, four adults, one juvenile and three calves, which were travelling north-east and leaping.

After all the excitement offshore and a cup of tea, we started heading back along the coast towards New Quay. A female Atlantic grey seal was encountered in the water off Mwnt, whilst a bull seal was seen in the water a little further along the coast. A mother-calf bottlenose dolphin pair were seen travelling south between Mwnt and Aberporth. The pair was identified as ‘Topnotch’ and her calf. Two more Atlantic grey seals, one female and one male, were sighted in the water on our route between Mwnt and Aberporth. Two bottlenose dolphin mother-calf pairs were observed foraging off Aberporth headland. One of the calves was identified to be a newborn. As we approached Ynys Lochtyn, we encountered five bottlenose dolphins including three adults, one calf and one newborn. The group were seen foraging, feeding and tail-slapping off the headland. We watched as one of the calves attempted, but failed, to tail-slap. Three more bottlenose dolphins comprising two adults and one juvenile were observed foraging slightly further offshore from Ynys Lochtyn. Our final sighting of the day was of a female Atlantic grey seal which was seen in the water off Ynys Lochtyn.