Fin whales now off Waterford as well as Cork coast...update

28th Oct 2008 Report Update 28/10/08...

The reports keep rolling in of large baleen whale activity from multiple locations along the Irish South coast. This morning alone we observed at least 3 fin whales southeast of Sands Cove, Ardfield area, while at the same time Neil Deasy was counting blows just west of the Old Head of Kinsale lighthouse. So it's hard to point people in the right direction at present, as there are likely to be fin whales in many locations along the Waterford, Cork and Kerry coasts. Take your pick!

Report Update 27/10/08...

We have once again received multiple reports from experienced land based observers today of fin whale activity off both the Waterford and Cork coast on Bank Holiday Monday. Andrew Malcolm and Ann Trimble counted at least 3 fin whales among common dolphins off Mine Head, which is 6 miles east of their usual watch site at Ram Head, Co. Waterford. While at the same time local Ardfield farmer Tim Feen, observed another single close inshore inside Clonakilty Bay from Dunnycove Area.

With cold northerlies forecast for the rest of the week, there may well be some good inshore whale watching opportunities towards the end of the week. So you'll need to wrap up. But the signs are looking positive.

Report Update 16/10/08...

In excellent watching conditions the first sighting of the day was not of whales, but of only their blows just over the horizon. I estimated there to be between 4 and 6 animals almost directly south of Ram Head in one of their traditional 'hot spots'.

Most of the gannet activity was concentrated due east of me so it was perhaps unsurprising that I also picked up another fin whale in that general area on my next 'sweep' of the horizon, and much closer in at about 10-12km offshore. A small group of common dolphins were also recorded off Mine Head.

On my final scan of the watch I picked up another group of at least three fin whales heading towards Capel Island which is one of their usual haunts, but not usually at this time of year.

This is the first time I have recorded fin whales at all in October so its particularly interesting to note that my original sighting of a single animal on the 3rd October wasn't an isolated incident.

Andrew Malcolm

Report Update 6/10/08...

The update is that fin whales have now been reported off the Beara Peninsula. Local observer and IWDG member, Patrick Lyne observed 4-6 fin whales from Fair Head, Nr. Castletownbere on Sun. 5th Oct. The activity was focused in an area c4 miles south of Fair Head in a line with Sheep's Head. What is most likely to be the same activity was also observed by Pete Wolsenhome and Noel Linehan from Three Castles, Nr. Mizen head to their west whilst sea watching, and they too were confident on their identification.

So again the evidence suggests that fin whales are widely distributed over at least 110 miles of the Irish South and Southwest coast, covering Counties Waterford, Cork and in offshore Kerry waters. It is likely that this species is also occurring in other areas. We'll keep you posted on the very latest large whale activity from all Irish waters as soon as sightings are received and validated by IWDG

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator

During an effort watch from Ram Head, Ardmore, Co. Waterford a large number of common dolphins and a single fin whale were recorded.

Andrew Malcolm Reports...

Within minutes of starting my first October effort watch I came across a large number-approx 150-of common dolphins feeding underneath numerous seabirds. This activity was taking place at one of the traditional 'hot spots' 8k directly south of Ram Head. Having not seen a dolphin of any sort from Ardmore since June, it came as almost a shock to see so many animals at a time.


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