A View of the Bay (week 2)

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 2019)

Hello again here is my 'A View of the Bay' weekly update for all those who are locked-down and missing New Quay Bay.

Quite a change from last week dolphin-wise! Earlier in the week we had some unsettled weather and incredibly I spotted several bottlenose dolphins, very briefly, in the choppy waves. It was far easier to view them from my comfy bar stool than from a windswept harbour wall. On Wednesday I spotted a dolphin right in the harbour area, where it stayed (probably foraging) for about an hour. On Thursday morning the dolphins were leaping and frolicking around the Cardinal Buoy for an hour or so. My sources living close to the fish factory also informed me that there was a group of adults and calves foraging just off the headland, at the start of the week.

Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin

Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin

On to avian matters...more overseas travelers returning with no need for quarantine! I spotted lots of swifts this week although their numbers are declining nationally. Another bird arriving in greater numbers are whitethroats, cute little Sylvia warblers with surprisingly white throats.  They perch on bush tops and give their scratchy, unmusical but very characteristic little song. It’s funny to think that a months ago their audience might have been giraffes and water buffalo in sub-saharan Africa!

Common whitethroat by Jon Hawkins

Perhaps not as rare as last week's honey buzzard (but equally as stunning), a little egret cruised over my flat on Tuesday. They are quite common on estuaries in Wales now but still an unusual sighting.

I imagine the sea-bird colony at Bird Rock is jumping with activity and there have been way more auks whizzing past this week with lots of kittiwakes as well, easily identifiable by their bouncy flight and characteristic 'dipped in black ink' wingtips.

No new moth species this week sadly but a couple of good butterflies to report. My first red admiral of the year and a beautiful brimstone, one of my favourites. The brimstone is bright lemon yellow with wings a bit like Mr Spock's ears from Star Trek.

Brimstone by Jim Higham

Brimstone by Jim Higham

That’s all until next week. Though I've been told that a year or two ago there were basking sharks seen in the bay in May so I'm keeping an eye out for those plus the manxies.