A View of the Bay (week 7)

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.So, what a week of wildlife fun it’s been...enough to keep me wildlife watching for hours.

Andy Dolphin Watching (Nov 2019)

Hi all, welcome to the latest latest from New Quay bay here as some glimmers of post-lockdown treats loom on the horizon....extensions to travel and possibly more visitors to our sleepy little 'drinking village with a fishing problem'.

Well, its a famous spot for the resident bottlenose dolphins and, by cracky, what a week its been in that respect. Really no days when nothing was happening but plenty of days when it looked liked everything was happening. Tuesday and Saturday were definitely the biggies with upwards of 12 animals present most of the day, usually in two groups, displaying lots of aerials and loops like Swansea airshow. Quite a few juveniles about too, I think three. Plus I also saw that really unusual behaviour we record as 'logging' on watches when dolphins just lie at the surface do pretty much nothing.

Sadly, the two minke whales which were seen off Strumble in Pembs last week decided against a trip further eastwards to our patch, probably as well as I'd have required CPR if I'd seen them, I do get a bit excited by stuff like that.

Bottlenose Dolphins © Sarah Perry

Plenty of other little highlights though this week....got to mention the really amazing number of bullfinches this year. Never a 'common' bird, I don't seem to be able to go anywhere local without tripping over some. Delightfully pair -bonded, bullfinches are pretty much always in a pair or foursome and are quite unobtrusive apart from an usual round white rump patch and a beautiful, soft single note whistle, once heard, never forgotten.

On the Lepidoptera front, a bit quiet, no new moth species but quite a few red admirals and one potential new one for this year which leads me into an interesting section of the blog which we'll title 'things you've seen which you can't really ID'.
Potentially frustrating, we all have those moments that, without a television action-replay facility, leave an impression of a species but no definite ID....or even a good view of something which you still can't ID!

The butterfly in question was a 'painted lady-ish' thing which bumped into my window then was gone. I only had a fleeting glimpse of 'bigness' & 'orangeness' before it flew away. Not rare, and some summers we get loads, just didn't see this one well enough.

Painted Lady

Mid-week brought another mystery...a sea duck in the bay which defied my efforts to name it. All dark, quite long tail, small head, sea duck profile (usually flat and wide to give stability in bumpy water). It could have been a long-tailed duck but a) strange plumage and b) wrong time of year to be here. We'll never know!

And lastly, and excitingly despite the no-ID...a friend in the village sent me a pic of a very weird looking swift amongst a flock of swifts, again a real puzzle. We might send this to the County Bird Recorder as rare swifts do get seen in the UK but sadly, a definite ID is only really possible with photo's of the bird from above and below and evidence of plumage differences. In my head its little swift but officially, it remains a mystery.

Happily, the week ended with a splendid calling cuckoo in the woods above my flat! Pretty sure I can ID that one.

Cheers all, see you next week.