Humpback Whales off Slea Head.....UPDATE

4th Aug 2011 Report IV, 02/08/11

Despite a change to less settled Atlantic weather, there is still evidence from land watches, of humpback whale activity in the waters adjacent to Slea Head and the Blaskets, Co. Kerry.

On Tues 2nd August Nick Massett observed a whale with a low bushy blow in Dingle Bay. A subsequent report later in the day from local fisherman Paul Hand, of two whales blowing and tail-fluking very close to his boat, would satisfy IWDG that these are humpback whales. Due to the difficult field conditions it hasn't been possible to establish their identity.

There is currently very good whale watching potential in inshore waters of the Irish South and Southwest coasts, with fin whales still in West Cork between Galley Head and Seven Heads, and humpbacks off Dingle Peninsula. Minke whales are also being reported to IWDG from several locations such as Cape Clear and Mizen Head. Killala Bay in Co. Mayo/Sligo has had a really nice run of recent bottlenose dolphin activity, while basking sharks are now showing in Northern Irish waters, some months after their spring, early summer peak.

The very latest cetacean and basking shark sightings are validated and made available in real time for interrogation on We appreciate all sighting submissions.

Report III, 23/07/11

The afternoon research trip with IWDG members produced a fantastic encounter with lots of lunge feeding. Conor Ryan, IWDG/GMIT secured another biopsy sample. Despite its being reluctant to fluke, the following fluke image were secured Paddy O'Dwyer.

The whale was travelling east, bubble-netting white bait as it moved (most likely sprat or small herring). There was a second humpback in the vicinity but the light began to fade before we could track it down. Minkes and common dolphins are very plentiful in the area still.

Foggy conditions today, which will hopefully burn off. So let's see what today's efforts bring as there is still one humpback unaccounted for.

Report II, 22/07/11

It became clear to Nick Massett last night that not only were the two humpbacks back in the area off Slea Head, Co. Kerry but that they had almost certainly been joined by two more animals.

Images secured by Nick this morning from his RIB confirm this to be the case. The image below show a new humpback whale previously undocumented in Irish waters. Although the fluke shot is only a partial, there is enough detail on the right fluke and the dorsal fin to confirm that this is a new humpback #HBIRL17, taking the Irish humpback whale catalogue to n=17. But there is still another humpback in the area so let's hope that IWDG researchers and members secure an all-important fluke shot of this individual as well.

Local Whale Watch operator and IWDG supporter Mick Sheeran is putting together a special deal for IWDG members to go out and see these animals leaving from Ventry Harbour at 1300 and 1700 hrs @ €30 per person for iwdg members. (€40 for non members). Please note that this is not an IWDG charter, and all bookings should go directly through Mick Sheeran who can be contacted email: or phone: Mick Sheeran 086-3353805