Bottlenose Dolphin at Nimmo’s Pier, Galway!

27th Mar 2016

At present, Nimmo’s Pier, in the heart of Galway city, is alive with wildlife! A bottlenose dolphin, believed to be semi resident in the area, has been sighted frequently over the last few weeks.

The dolphin has been observed just beyond the wall at the end of the pier, spending most of his/her time approximately 100 to 300m from the wall. The dolphin’s dorsal fin has been seen gliding through the water for several seconds in a shark-like fashion, before the animal has been noted surfacing with its blow visible in the air! When listening carefully, the sound of the dolphin’s blow has also been heard!

The mouth of the River Corrib sees a lot of action this time of year. Salmon are present in the water, which provide substantial meals for the dolphin, seals and otters in the area.

Two harbour seals, also known as common seals, and one otter, have also been observed at the pier recently. The seals have been spending a lot of time in the waters between the Wolfe Tone Bridge, and just beyond the end of Nimmo’s Pier.

On 22/03/16, at dusk, an otter was seen and heard, climbing out of the water onto nearby rocks, crunching on a small sea creature. Just minutes later, the otter was observed very dramatically catching what appeared to be a salmon, approximately 0.5m in length, just 2m from the pier.

The otter then made its way onto the rocks, and wrestled with the struggling fish. The fish, still alive, was then brought back to the water by the otter. The otter swam on his back, and clung tightly to the fish. It almost looked as if the otter was hugging, and dancing with, the fish, as they moved gently through the water until out of sight. A truly fascinating scene!

There have also been numerous bird species spotted at the pier. Cormorants, great northern divers, along with herring gulls, have all been observed fishing.

Approximately fourty Brent geese have been seen flying across the sky in a perfectly synchronised V-shaped formation, before elegantly landing on the shore on the right-hand-side of the pier. A graceful heron has been observed, flying high overhead at the pier, and standing as still as a statue at the water’s edge. Swans with their young, tern species, teal, red shanks, plovers, and a bat, have also been noted in the area.

So, if you’re looking for an exciting walk where wildlife is plentiful, Nimmo’s Pier is the place for you!

Lastly, please remember to report any sightings of the dolphin on the IWDG website, thank you!

Catherine O'Sullivan,

IWDG Member