Whale Watch Ireland 2010....Results

23rd Aug 2010 Report update 23/08/10

On Sunday 22nd August the IWDG delivered Whale Watch Ireland 2010. This All– Ireland Whale Watch day comprised guided land-based whale watches at 15 sites throughout the four provinces.

This event now in its 9th year is one of the largest events on the Irish wildlife calendar and was attended by c1,475 whale watchers and visitors alike at 15 sites, spread out over 12 coastal counties. To maximize the impact of this event it was once again timed to coincide with Heritage Week, thus helping us introduce this event to an even wider audience.

The main objective of this event is to raise awareness of the 24 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) recorded in Irish waters, and to promote their conservation, by encouraging participation in the IWDG sightings and strandings schemes.

Favourable weather prevailed at most sites, producing some really good sightings with cetacean sightings at 9 of the 15 (60%) of sites. In fact at 2 sites there were two species seen, and at Galley Head, Co. Cork there was an impressive tally of three species seen by participants. In recent years Whale Watch Ireland has struggled with poor weather, but thankfully the high pressure dominated at most sites. Unfortunately for watchers at Brandon Pt., Kerry, and Fort Dunree, Donegal, the lack of wind had a downside...midges!

Species seen:

Harbour porpoise, Bottlenose dolphin and common dolphins & Minke whale. Three cetacean species were seen at 1 sites, 2 species at 2 sites, 1 species at 6 sites, no sightings were recorded at 6 sites.

Number individual animals:

Common dolphin x 165 (Galley Hd & Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork)

Harbour porpoise x 38

Bottlenose dolphin x 8 (Loop Hd & Bray Hd, photo below)

Minke whale x 7 (Galley Hd & Beara)

As usual there was a good mix of both Irish and overseas visitors to the watches, and for many attending, this was their first encounter with a cetacean in the wild in Irish waters. Those attending at many of the sites were provided with "expert" interpretation by IWDG personnel who have vast experience regarding cetaceans, their ecology, biology and the conservation threats facing these marine mammals. An assortment of whale artifacts were on view and there was plenty of free handouts and information sheets supplied by both IWDG and the event's primary sponsor Inis Cologne.

IWDG are very pleased with the results of this year's watch, and we hope that among the many who attended, we will gain some new members and dedicated whale watchers who are willing to volunteer some of their time and energy in furthering our understanding of the whales and dolphins that live in Irish coastal waters.

A huge thanks to our primary sponsors, Inis Cologne, www.perfume.ie, for once again making this wonderful day possible, and to Fáilte Ireland and the IEN Biodiversity grants for additional funding support.

Last but not least, a warm thank you to the 15 watch leaders who were selfless in sharing their time, passion and knowledge with the public. Without your enthusiasm there would be no Whale Watch Day: Patrick Lyne, Pádraig Whooley Mick O' Connell, Nick Massett, Aoife Foley, Joanne O' Brien, Conor Ryan, Fiona Farrell, Dermot Mc Laughlin, Jim Allen, Ian Enlander, Brian Glanville, Dinah Boyne, Kevin Mc Cormick (Mac), & Andrew Malcolm.

Report compiled by Pádraig Whooley

Sunday 22nd August is All-Ireland whale watch day, comprising free, guided land-based whale watches at 15 sites around the coast between 2:00-5:00pm

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