Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Biscay - currently boiling with marine life!

This truly amazing trip with Shetland Wildlife owned and operated Company of Whales across the Bay of Biscay between 20 - 23 August 2010 produced a number of exciting encounters and an incredible range of wildlife. The many highlights included a single pod of 15+ Cuvier's Beaked Whales (the largest pod ever recorded in the Bay of Biscay) near the Northern Shelf Edge, 'fluking' Sperm Whales, a Leatherback Turtle, an adult Long-tailed Skua with 'full' tail streamers and a tally of six Shearwater species - including Macronesian. A summary of the key sightings is as follows:

9 species of cetaceans included a total of 19 Cuvier's Beaked Whales, including 1 which breached 5 times ahead of the ship, 20 Sperm Whales, 2 Fin Whales, 1 Large Rorqual (probable Fin Whale), 1 Minke Whale, 94 Pilot Whales, 85 Bottle-nosed Dolphins, 308 Common Dolphins, 55 Striped Dolphins, 15 unidentified Dolphins and 9 Harbour Porpoise. Other marine species seen were a Leatherback Turtle, 4 Ocean Sunfish and hundreds of Tuna including the Yellow-fin species. Birds at sea included 1 Macronesian (Little), 49 Cory's, 14 Great, 3 Sooty, 9 Manx and 1 Balearic Shearwater, 6 Great, 3 Arctic and 1 Long-tailed Skua, 18 Storm Petrels, 7 Black Terns and 2 migrating Swifts. Highlights of our walk in Spain included a Wryneck, 3 Firecrests, 6 Red-backed Shrikes, 9 Serin, 2 Cirl Bunting, 6 Melodious Warblers, 2 Nightingales, 1 Fan-tailed Warbler, 6 Cetti's Warblers, 5 Sardinian Warblers, 5 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat and 2 Ravens. Low cloud unfortunately precluded any raptors other than Kestrel. Butterflies included Scarce Swallowtail, Long-tailed Blue, Adonis Blue, Holly Blue and Clouded Yellow. Praying Mantis, Wasp Spider and Long-winged Conehead were also seen.

Our sister business is running over 20 trips across the Bay in 2010 - keep up to date with sightings and see lots of great photos from the trips by clicking here

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