27 September 2009

Big blue wobbly thing where mermaids live

Just back from a few days with the lovely people at Marinelife on the 'Pride of Bilbao'.

In addition to the downright freakery of the ferry inhabiting primates, true ocean-dwelling stuff included: 50+ Bottle-nosed, 40+ Short-beaked Common and 60+ Striped Dolphin (tart's tick, yay!), 20+ Harbour Porpoise, 5 Fin Whale (including one of the, as yet undescribed, sub-species quasimodoensis, see pic), 30+ Pilot Whale (assumed Long-finned), 2 Sperm Whale, 1 Basking Shark and a tonne of tuna. Unfortunately, I didn't connect with Cuvier's Beaked Whale although a few were reported and both Minke Whale and Ocean Sunfish snuck past too. The only beaked whale I got onto remained stubbornly unspecified, it was either Northern Bottlenose or Cuvier's but the undemonstrative little bastard didn't show enough to shimmy onto the list (do beaked whales shimmy? We may never know).

Nothing outrageous on the seabird front but approximate totals included: 80 Great, 30 Sooty and 1 Med Shear, 20 Stormies, 60 Great and 1 Arctic Skua plus 4 Sabine's Gull. Mid-bay migrants included 1 Kestrel, 3 Turnstone, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Swallow, 5 alba wags, 300 Meadow Pipit, 4-5 Chiffchaff, 1 Starling and a Clouded Yellow. On the hill behind Santurtzi Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler, Red-backed Shrike and Serin were knocking around with a good number of chats, flycatchers, etc. (plus helice Clouded Yellow, Adonis Blue, Wall Lizard sp. and Autumn Lady's Tresses); and the port was peppered with, assumed though not grilled, 'Cantabrican' Yellow-legged Gull (only saw 1 Med Gull though but at least 10 were later seen just outside Portsmouth).

A rather pristine 1st-cal year Bonxie, there were also plenty of tatty, mid post-breeding moult, adults around.

A shy (I assume that's why he is hiding his face) dark/melanistic Short-beaked Common Dolphin, apparently none too rare in the bay.


Peter Alfrey said...

What are the Common Dolphins in the video on my blog. Are they Common Dolphins even?

Darryl said...

The bow-riding animals in the video are Short-beaked Common Dolphin and very lovely they are too. I think the nearest Long-beaked are off West Africa.