Killer whales off Dursey Island

8th Feb 2009 The most interesting sighting of the weekend was of an adult pair of killer whales that stayed around Dursey Island, West Cork throughout the weekend. They were reported by David Cooke, who is a regular recorder from Dursey Island.

Initially seen off the tip of Dursey Island on Saturday morning 7/02/09 they moved north towards the Kerry side of the Island. Much to the surprise of the sea watchers they were still in the area this morning Sunday 8th, where they were seen from Derek Scott's house at Tilickafinna and Kimichael. There was associated seabird activity, suggested feeding behaviour, but no evidence that they were predating on marine mammals.

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It is interesting that once again this pair comprises an adult male and what looks like a smaller adult female, which suggests it could be the same pair that have been seen during the IWDG Whale Watching weekend courses on Cape Clear Island during the early 2000's, or the pair (photo above) photographed by Michelle Curran off Mizen Head, Co. Cork on 4th April 2008.

At the opposite end of County Cork, bordering Co. Waterford, Ann Trimble and Andrew Malcolm picked up distant blows along the horizon during an effort watch off Ram Head, Ardmore. As the blows were apearing in the Ballycotton area, these would also be inside Co. Cork.

Another IWDG effort watch off Galley Head produced just a single sighting of a solitary dolphin species which was likely to be a bottlenose dolphin, and no whale activity was recorded. A BIM sponsored acoustic research trip with Colin Barnes on the MV Holly Jo also reported very little activity off West Cork. So it does look like the large whale activity has shifted east towards the Waterford coast, as has been documented in the past by IWDG.

But watch this space on the killer whale activity, as this pair may be seen by others as these large dolphins can remain very close inshore as they forage along the coast.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator