A View of the Bay (week 8)

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 Watch (Nov 2019)

Another pretty busy week in the bay and surrounds as we head towards July (can you believe that!). We've had mixed weather all week, with temperatures in the top twenties midweek then down to low teens with strong winds by the weekend.  So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the wildlife has been a bit random.

Great news for cetacean lovers....we've had two species in the bay for the first time in ages! The bottlenose dolphins have been active most days of the week, in all the usual spots - leaping, socialising and logging at the surface. However, the standout, for unusualness, came on Wednesday in the shape of a tiny juvenile harbour porpoise, brilliant. I thought it was a big fish at first as it breached on its side so the tail fluke looked like a vertical tail fin. A brief but really exciting find. Perhaps even more amazing, pretty much at the same time, a sunfish flapped slowly past the harbour wall, quite close in so giving good views. The upward fin's the giveaway, this one was quite small but again, very exciting find.


Sunfish © Steve Hartley

We've had hardly any jellyfish to date (with my sea-swimming hat on I'm fine with that!) but this week has produced both several compass jellies and abarrel jellyfish, Wouldn't it be great if a leatherback turtle paid us a visit for some jellyfish sushi?

Birdy-wise, the various weather moods have produced some interesting sightings....manxies, kittewakes plus a few fulmars on the windy days. The unusual highlights of the week for me have been a flock of curlew going through (heard, not seen sadly) and the first sounds of baby auks in the bay. The adult's rough growls are easily separated from the piping calls of their offspring. It's great that they once again survived the 'leap of faith' off the cliffs to start their careers at sea.
Another new arrival, some post-breeding mediterranean gulls have been around all week....don't be fooled by the name, Med gulls have been breeding in Wales for quite a few years now and their really smart black hoods and white wingtips are a real standout next to the more regular gulls.

Compass Jellyfish © Jay Burk

Other flying things like bats, moths and butterflies have been good too. A couple of newbies, an early thorn moth in my hallway (easy to ID as its a moth which closes its wings at rest) and my first meadow brown butterfly of the year. Neither are rare species but good to see.

Finally, bat lovers, I was treated to a great, circuiting display by a common pipistrelle bat on Wednesday at sunset. It was still light enough to see its silhouette as it patrolled an area outside giving really good calls on my bat detector at about 45KhZ....defo worth investing in if you like your bats

Bat Detector

See you next week.