Fin whales now off Cork coast 29/05/07..Update

29th May 2007 Report II 3/06/07

Andrew Malcolm and Ann Trimble observed c7 fin whales at Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford during an effort watch on Sunday morning 3/06/07.

Report 1 29/05/07

After a "Heritage-in- Schools" visit to Whitegate Primary School to introduce the students to whales and dolphins in Irish waters, IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator took the opportunity to drive out to Roche's Pt. lighthouse at the mouth of Cork Hbr. for a land-based "effort" watch.

It's always a real treat to carry out watches from headlands outside of West Cork, which benifit from extensive watch effort. Within 15 minutes of starting the watch from the Round tower above Roche's Pt. lighthouse, I observed a series of 3-4 distant blows in rapid succession along the horizon, in a line SSE of Roche's Pt. After several deep dive intervals, it became clear that my initial count was far from the complete picture. At 16:30 there was a period of 3-4 minutes when my scopes field of vision of about 1km was peppered with a barage of vapour plumes, and my best estimate was a minimum of 12 fin whales Balaenoptera physalus

This is the 1st validated record of fin whales off the Cork coast this year, and follows Andrew Malcolm's earlier sighting of 8 fin whales to the east off Ardmore Head, Co. Waterford on 20/05/07 and a single off Slea Head, Co. Kerry on 25/05/07. So the 2nd largest animal on the planet is well and truly back along the Irish south coast, and this activity offers superb whale watching opportunities to both enthusiasts and members of the public alike.


We are largely unaware as to cetacean activity in the 35 mile stretch of water between the Old Head of Kinsale and Youghal area. Although during the summer months we do get many "casual observations" from this area. These observations are not as useful as effort related sightings, where we can quantify the effort invested in making a sighting(s) in terms of minutes watched.

Please note that yesterday's observations were outside binocular range and would require a spotting scope with a wide angle eye piece for optimal viewing. If you have such equipment and the interest and think you'd have the time to help IWDG by carrying out at least one land-based whale watch per month from either the Old Head of Kinsale, Roche's Point/Power Head or Ballycotton, we'd like to hear from you. Please contact padraig.whooley@iwdg.ie for further details or an info pack.

A big thank you to Lorraine O' Byrne and the students of Whitegate N.S. for a lovely visit and to Frances Gallgher for all those cups of tea.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator