Large whales return to the south coast after spring break.31st May 2005 On 29 May, IWDG member, Andrew Malcolm, who is a regular watcher off Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford, observed at least five fin whales and another sp. which may have been a humpback, during an "effort watch".
This is the earliest records of fin whales off the Irish south coast, which in previous years have been observed further west off West Cork later in June. In 2004 for instance they were first observed on 6th June.
Also the fact that Andrew was seeing fin whales regularly off Ardmore until the 20th Feb, where none have been seen since, suggests that when they leave our south coast in spring, they may not be traveling too far. Certainly an absence of just three months strongly suggests that at least some of our fin whales are staying locally in Irish waters for as much as nine months of the year.
Andrew's "effort watches" off Ardmore are once again showing the benifits of IWDG encouarging individuals to get out to the headlands and conduct "timed watches", rather than reporting casual observations.
It is now becoming clearer with each year, as watch-effort increases, that fin and humpback whales are present in more areas than we originally thought, and staying longer. The trends are begining to suggest that the Waterford/Wexford coast may well be the arrival and departuure zone for our large whales.
So as always our message is to keep your eyes peeled along the horizon and if you have the time and energy to conduct one or two "effort watches" per month from your local headland, then please do contact us and we'll forward you a start up pack.
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