More Co. Antrim Bottlenose Dolphins

11th Jun 2010 Receiving a message of 'whales' being seen in the Larne area around 13.40 today and reported as traveling south I headed out mid-afternoon to see if I could connect. Sea state was pretty good inshore but looking a bit too lively offshore to have much hope of seeing anything so I hoped that their coastal hugging behaviour when initially seen was being maintained.

A couple of stops and scans from the Islandmagee area proved negative. One last stop at 16.40 was the sea front at Whitehead where literally the first thing I picked up was a series of large dorsals (large compared to our local Harbour Porpoise fare) around the Black Head area - Bottlenose Dolphins!! Group size was hard to determine but fortunately they gradually moved inshore as they travelled into Belfast Lough.

Around 12 beasts were present including 1 quite small calf and 1 sub-adult. Behaviour was limited to steady swimming but every so often the calf put on a bit of a show with occasional breaches. I contacted local IWDG member Emma Stock who lives at Black Head lighthouse and she managed to get on the group as well. I last saw them around 17.20 moving steadily south-westwards into Belfast Lough - they will of course have to turn around at some point and may then continue southwards so look out - with a north-westerly easing through tomorrow sea conditions should be good for more dolphin spotting on the east coast.

Ian Enlander

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