Researchers from the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) have teamed up with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips and Friends of Cardigan Bay (a local conservation organisation based in Aberystwyth) to carry out cetacean surveys throughout Cardigan Bay this field season.
The main aim of these trips is to carry out scientific surveys of the bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay. This includes conducting photo-identification of the bottlenose dolphins as well as deploying hydrophones (underwater microphones) to record dolphin communication sounds as part of a research project in collaboration with scientists at St Andrews University, Scotland and the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU).
The trips also provide a fantastic opportunity to see other marine wildlife such as Atlantic grey seals, harbor porpoises and a variety of seabirds including gannets, Manx shearwaters, razorbills and guillemots to name a few.
The first surveys took place in April. With fantastic conditions and plenty of dolphins to be seen, the researchers headed north through Cardigan Bay reaching as far north as Tremadog Bay, where sightings of numerous jellyfish, whimbrel, scoters and other seabirds were had.
Unfortunately the surveys scheduled for May could not go ahead due to the weather conditions - strong winds and rain, don't make ideal conditions for these day surveys. However already in July we have been able to carry out two day surveys with fantastic sightings of some of Cardigan Bay's bottlenose dolphins, including some familiar faces (fins) seen and photographed. We've also spotted harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals as well as an unidentified very large splash - very exciting!
We're offering members of the public a unique opportunity to support this research and to join one of these day surveys. Limited spaces are available on each survey trip.
To book your space call the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) on 01545 560032.
Each trip is carried out on-board Dolphin Survey Boat Trips vessel Sulaire, a 33ft modern charter vessel licensed and insured to carry 14 people. She is equipped with all the latest electronic and safety equipment. There is a toilet on board and a part sheltered deck area.
Hot drinks are provided but bring a mug and please bring your own food, warm clothing, binoculars, sensible shoes and don’t forget your camera!
Pre-arranged trips are scheduled for the following dates in 2011 (but are weather dependent):
July – Sunday 24th
August – Wednesday 10th, Sunday 28th
September – Sunday 11th, Wednesday 28th
October – Sunday 9th, Wednesday 26th
But do keep an eye on the CBMWC facebook page and website for up to date information on these surveys and any extra dates added.
Please remember that you will be joining a scientific survey but also we are surveying wild animals and sightings cannot be guaranteed.