Fin whales concentrating along Waterford coast

9th Dec 2010 The flow of sighting reports to IWDG in the past month suggest that if it's large whales you're after then Waterford is probably the best place to be. This weekend, Saturday in particular is looking like the weather conditions should be favourable for a boat trip out to view them.

Of the last 28 validated sightings reported to and validated by IWDG in the past month, just 1 (4%) has come from Co. Kerry, 7 (25%) from Co. Cork, and the vast majority 20 (75%) have hailed from the Co. Waterford/Wexford coast. There has been a good geographic spread of sightings from Ram Head, Ardmore across to Hook Head on the Wexford side of Waterford Harbour area, but the areas around Bunmahon and Dunmore East have produced almost daily sightings in recent weeks. (See map below)

Andrew Malcolm today 9th Dec 2010 reports from the mine shafts area just east of Bunmahon, at least 6 fin whales, some of whom were so close inshore that on one occasion they could be heard "blowing" within 400m of the shore. None of the others were >1KM out. This is exceptional behaviour for the planet's 2nd largest animal. IWDG member Declan Clarke has been recording almost daily fin whale activity from Bunmahon in recent weeks.

This is a very interesting development and suggests the begining of a trend in the past two years of these large whales gathering much further to the east of their former West Cork haunts. Local fishermen are reporting large densities of herring gathering in this area. But it is still early in the season for herring and it is likely that as they aggregate in even larger shoals to spawn over the coming months that they will attract larger numbers of fin whales, and let's hope some humpback whales too.

It's great to see the southeast getting such reliable large whale sightings for the second consecutive year, and IWDG would encourage local recorders to report any sightings to

Commercial Whale watching trips are available out of Dunmore East by Skipper Martin Colfer of the MV Rebecca C, Ph. 087-2657177. But places like Youghal would be excellent locations to view whales currently off East Cork and West Waterford.

Pádraig Whooley

Sightings Co-ordinator

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