Getting to know the Wicklow Risso's

8th Sep 2003 The dolphins were initially sighted 300m. due East of Bray Harbour. We headed out on a boat to take a closer look and for the next 30 minutes or so we watched 7 Risso's Dolphins at distances of between 30m and 150m.

The dolphins were initially sighted 300m. due East of Bray Harbour. Cloud cover was complete which actually made spotting them very easy, they were clearly visible without binoculars. We headed out on a boat to take a closer look and for the next 30 minutes or so we watched 7 Risso's Dolphins at distances of between 30m and 150m.

They stayed in a compact group of 6-7 dolphins moving determinedly in very definite directions, we concluded that they were chasing schooling fish (mackerel or bass). One large dolphin appeared to stay at a distance from the group and always between our boat and the other dolphins.

Group of Risso'sRisso's Dolphins are known for their acrobatic behaviour and we observed several big breaches. After 45 mins the dolphins started to spread out and head south towards Brayhead. They began to pick up speed and as we followed at around 6 knots, 8 or so more dolphins joined up with this group. As they moved South towards Greystones the dolphins surfaced often, we saw several more breaches and also what appeared to be 2-3 dolphins surfacing vertically out of the water amongst a lot of splashing and movement.

Risso's are capable of some spectacular acrobaticsAs we approached Greystones several dolphins approached to within 10m. of our boat moving a little slower, one dolphin swam under the boat surfacing 2m. on the other side. Very soon after this the group accelerated away from us and were soon 500-600m to the south. As we motored back to Bray we observed 7-8 dolphins moving in the same direction to our east at a distance of roughly a mile. As we approached Bray we could see them at the northern end of Killiney Bay, they eventually moved out to sea past Dalkey Island.