Newest addition to the Irish Humpback Whale catalogue30th Jul 2013
IWDG are delighted to confirm the first addition to the Irish Humpback whale catalogue of the 2013/14 large whale season and introduce HBIRL23, who was observed by Nick Massett on both 27th & 28th July off Clogher and Sybil Heads, West Kerry. Fluke and dorsal shots have been run through the IWDG catalogue and we can confirm that this individual has never previously been documented in Irish waters. The flukes of this "type 1" are extremely white with >90% white pigmentation which is not common in Irish waters. The superb quality fluke shot (below) obtained by Nick Massett on 28/07/13 has been forwarded to colleagues in Allied Whale, Bar Harbour, Maine, USA, who curate the North Atlantic humpback whale catalogue, where it will be run through a database of over 7,000 fluke shots for matching. Let's see if they get an all important match. The animal remained in the area yesterday 29th July.
So this is a wonderful opportunity for IWDG members and general public to head up to Clogher or Sybil head, Co. Kerry with optics to see if can catch a glimpse of one of the planet's most iconic animals. But be warned most of Nick's sightings suggest it is a good distance out (c10KM+) and you will need reasonable quality optics. On the day it was photo identified Nick and Vera O' Donovan estimated at least 12 minke whales and 250+ common dolphins all feeding in the same area. Now that's world class whale watching. Local Whale Watching trips are available with Eco Marine Tours.
One group of large whales you definitely won't be able to watch from shore, or from
As always, never assume that you have to travel down to the southwest region to see whales. On Thursday 25th July IWDG member Caroline Tuffy observed c6 minke whales from her watch site near the pier at Kilcummin Head, Killala, Co. Mayo. There have also been several sightings of solitary minkes and a few pairs off the Northern Irish coast in recent weeks. Please report any cetacean sightings to IWDG for validation on www.iwdg.ie. Sightings reported on facebook, while they might make for interesting reading, can not be validated. All sightings of cetaceans once processed are fully available for online interrogation on www.iwdg.ie.
This activity bodes well for our upcoming All-Ireland Whale Watch Day on Sunday 18th August. During "Whale Watch Ireland 2013" IWDG volunteers will guide free, land-based whale watches at 16 sites around the Irish coast. We hope you can join us. More details on this event to followe.
IWDG Sightings Coordinator