Bottlenose dolphins return to Killiney Bay area

16th Dec 2011 After an absence of around six weeks from the Killiney Bay-Greystones area, the semi resident group of bottlenose dolphins make a welcome return in the last 10 days, where they have been seen from both land and sea (even from the DART) almost every day from 6-16th Dec 2011.

About a week after they disappeared from their southside residence on 18th Oct, IWDG started receiving regular reports of a small group of dolphins from Skerries, Malahide and Balbriggan in North Co. Dublin. Some of these reports were validated as bottlenose dolphins. Then on 12th Nov a dead 1.5 m, Juvenile bottlenose dolphin stranded at Portmarnock. Worrying times……as given the facts, it seemed a reasonable assumption that they were the same group, and had just lost their calf.

Then on 6th Dec. we started getting a string of reports of bottlenose dolphins back in Killiney Bay, and as the saying goes…… “three, it's a magic number”. So in the past 10 days people have enjoyed great views of this group from Vico Road, Hawke Cliff, Sorrento Terrace with a few sorties down towards Bray. Hopefully they will over-winter in the area, as they did in 2010, and continue to provide east coast whale watchers with memorable sightings over the Christmas holidays.


IWDG would ask anyone who makes a sighting of this group of bottlenose dolphins, or harbour porpoises, in the area to submit a sighting record on www.iwdg.ie. It is better that we receive multiple sightings of the same animals, than to miss out on any record, which might help us build a more complete picture of their movements. So best not to assume that somebody else will report them. Also, while it is great to see posts on facebook of sightings and strandings, they are of limited conservation value, as they can't be validated. Our facebook page was never supposed to replace online reporting.

The awful weather at present is making it very tricky to keep a daily tab on large whale sightings off the south coast, but the recent flow of sightings still points to Waterford being the county with the most reliable fin whale sightings. Andrew Malcolm counted a min. of 8 fin whales off Ram Head, Ardmore during a watch on 10th Dec. It is likely that fin whales are also present off East Cork and towards the Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford.

All sightings on www.iwdg.ie are now up to date, and our website is back in action after a recent hacking incident which temporarily impacted on the databases within it. But Matt Johnston has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to return it to good health, with vastly improved security. We look forward to introducing many significant changes to www.iwdg.ie in the coming year.

Thanks as always for supporting our sighting scheme in 2011. But no point in writing the year off yet….as still two weeks to go, and as we know, hardly a week goes by without some fascinating cetacean discovery from Irish waters.

Pádraig Whooley

Sightings Co-ordinator