Fin and minke whales off Dublin and Risso's dolphins off Wicklow. What's happening?

24th May 2004 There appears to be a huge shoal of sprat or sand eels off the Dublin coast from Lambay Island, south to Killiney Bay. From what I've seen and heard it stretches to about five miles east of the Kish Lighthouse. There are currently 1000's of sea birds exploiting it, among them are Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes.

The IWDG Ferry survey on Saturday 22nd May produced a huge blow about five miles east of the Kish, which most likely came from a fin whale. This very tall blow, was observed with ease from a distance of about 1mile.

Crew from the Ulysses bridge have reported similar tall blows for two weeks now. On the return journey we hit some very calm water again about five miles east of the Kish and saw six minke whales in quick succession, with lots of bird activity and some fish visible out of the water. To top this off we observed a minke whale and birds feeding off Howth Head on Sunday 23rd May from a land-based whale watch.

Gannets and shearwaters were feeding in Dalkey Bay tonight 24th May, and among them were harbour porpoises and we're 80% confident that we also observed a minke whale. We've never seen shearwaters this close to the coast.

Further to the south Risso's dolphins have been observed from shore by whale- watchers between Shankill and Kilcoole on every day since May 22nd. They were observed by Greystonians throughout Sunday and this evening a minimum of 14 Risso's were observed between Kiloughter and Greystones.

This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the public on the east coast, to get a taste of just how good whale- watching in Ireland can be. Don't say we never told you!

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