Juvenile humpback whale spotted off Dingle peninsula

21st Jul 2006 On Friday 14 July, a juvenile humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was spotted breaching in Dingle Bay by Jonathan Smith, a researcher/cameraman with the BBC natural history unit. Jonathan had been watching bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) near Inch strand when he spotted a larger animal further out in the bay. A number of IWDG members went to the area and were able to confirm that it was a humpback whale approximately 8m long.

Recorded sightings of humpback whales are rare in the coastal waters of Kerry, but on the following day, 15 July, what was probably the same animal was seen at the Blasket Island. About 5 minutes after the start of the eco-tour around the islands, spectators aboard the 'Blasket Princess' were treated to incredible views of the animal breaching, flipper slapping and rolling on its back, in an area within 500m the Great Blasket and over to Beginis.

Calm seas allowed many other sightings in the area, including basking sharks feeding close to the island pier. Other sightings over the same weekend included harbour porpoises, common dolphins, minke whales and sunfish.

Mick O'Connell

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