Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Helping count whales and dolphins with the Sea Watch Foundation


I have been such a busy bee this summer. Even though I am a little envious of my Brother Ed’s foreign adventures, I've had the lovely opportunity to spend most of the summer in New Quay, West Wales working as a volunteer for the Sea Watch Foundation.

The Sea Watch Foundation is a national marine conservation research charity that protects the whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) around the UK. You might be surprised to know that 26 different types have been recorded around the UK, 13 species are seen regularly. Much of the research that Sea Watch does is carried out on the resident bottlenose dolphin population here in Cardigan Bay. Over the last ten years they have recorded over 230 individual dolphins. This information has helped to set up the two Special Areas of Conservation in Cardigan Bay. These are protected areas for the bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises.

Bottlenose dolphins

Harbour porpoise

I arrived in New Quay at the beginning of August to help out with the National Whale and Dolphin Watch week. The watch is an opportunity for members of the public to take part, in looking out for dolphin, whales and porpoises around the coast of the United Kingdom. A great idea - giving people the chance to get involved in the research which goes into understanding these magnificent creatures. The results collected during the watch provide a snapshot of where different species are around the British Isles. This information helps to inform scientific discussion on any change in the range and distribution of species. 

The National Whale and Dolphin Watch week ran from the 7th - 15th August this year. It was quite windy and rough for a lot of the week here in New Quay, but that didn’t stop me and the team of hard working Sea Watch volunteers from having an amazing time. During the week there were manned land watches taking place across the UK. I know my brother Ed will be helping out at one of the watches on his beach down in Shoreham in Sussex.

You can find out more about Ed the Bear's NWDW by clicking te link below

We also had a dedicated team on the pier here, which juts out into New Quay Harbour.

New Quay harbour is a great easily accessible location to see the bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. Because it's shallow and sheltered the dolphins love to come in and feed on the pollack, bream, turbot and  flounder along with other species of fish.

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