3....it's a magic number.

3rd Apr 2014
Tullan Strand, Co. Donegal cetacean bonanza.
 
We often get "multiple species" sightings reports sent into us, but they are generally boat-based and more often than not are from the south or southwest hotspots and such observations would tend to be later in the year. So against this backdrop, the report below from Rossa Meade is all the more fascinating.
 
While watching from the cliffs at Tullan Strand, between Bundoran and the Erne River mouth, Co. Donegal Rossa observed harbour porpoises (x3), bottlenose dolphins (x30+) and a minke whale. Rossa, who has worked on three humpback whale projects in Australia and has extensive experience of this species is certain that this was a minke whale, and the feeling was that this local activity may have been driven by the presence of mackerel.  
 
Harbour porpoises, Tullan Strand, 1st April 2014 © Rossa MeadeThis is yet another reminder of just how good whale watching can be, even during the "low season" period. There are not too many places anywhere on the planet where you can watch three cetacean species from the comfort of a sea cliff.  So with minke whales appearing now off both Counties Kerry and Donegal, it is reasonable to assume that there are other coastal sites where our smallest rorqual is busy foraging. Due to their relatively small size and the absence of a visible blow (normally), minke whales can be difficult to detect unless sea conditions are very calm.
 
Please support the Irish cetacean sighting scheme by reporting any sightings of minke whales to IWDG on www.iwdg.ie in the coming months.......
 
......" I was up on the cliff when I spotted the porpoise and went closer to get some pictures. This is when I spotted the first 8 bottlenose and minke which all came from the Ballyshannon direction and seemed to loop the bay. The fishermen did get to see the whale an dolphins but unfortunately they didn't take any pictures. This is the only time I've been able to see a blow from a minke but it was such a calm day and close sighting that I could see the bottlenose blows too. When I went up to the boat pier to follow the dolphins, I saw another group join them and they headed into the centre of the bay and were still there when I left after a few hours! Some of the bottlenose dolphin pod at Tullan Strand © Rossa Meade
 
The sightings of porpoise that I have seen here always hug the cliff and move up and down from the surf at Tullan to the main beach. The bottlenose that I have seen have come from the Ballyshannon end of the beach up along the surf and loop the bay towards mullaghmore. Hopefully the weather picks up and I can get some more sightings! "
Rossa Meade, IWDG member