Common dolphins in the River Lee - Update 18 Jan 201616th Jan 2016
On Jan 14th we saw a Facebook post regarding dolphins at Passage West in Cork Hbr area, and as per protocol we requested that a sighting form be completed online. On receipt of the online sighting record with the following images yesterday 15th Jan, we can now confirm that they were short-beaked common dolphins. Images taken by Paloma Lopes at 10:39am, 14th Jan show the pod just off Rochestown/Jacob's Isl. area. Although not without precedent to see this species in the River Lee system, it is still an unusual record and at this time of year, we'd have to assume they are foraging on sprat which they've pushed and trapped upriver. It would be great if members of the public could report any further sightings of these dolphins (with images) on www.iwdg.ie for validation and to alert us if they appear to be in distress or find themselves at any risk of going aground in shallow water. But since this initial record, we have received no further sightings of this group, which is probably for the best, as this is hardly prime habitat for an offshore dolphin species. Big thanks to Paloma Lopes for reporting this interesting observation to us.
Update 18 Jan 2016: The IWDG Cetacean Strandings Scheme received a report yesterday of a dead common dolphin at Church Bay, Crosshaven. The animal was in very fresh condition and while we have no evidence that it was connected to the above sighting, it is somewhat coincidental. A member of the IWDG Strandings Network visited the beach today to examine the animal but unfortunately the carcass was no longer present.
Editors note.....over the past 15 years the following species have been recorded in the River Lee, Cork City area: harbour porpoises, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins and killer whales; making it a surprisingly good river to go whale watching in!