White-beaked Dolphins

by on Jul.30, 2012, under North Sea, Northumberland, White-beaked Dolphin

Friday was our final Royal Quays evening pelagic for this summer, and we were heading once again on to the North Sea in search of a species that has come to occupy much of my time; White-beaked Dolphin.  My first encounter with them was in 2003, on an evening pelagic, and we’ve found them many times since then.

I’ve spent long, difficult days offshore in the winter, researching their distribution while leading the North East Cetacean Project, I’ve stood on a clifftop with clients (on an Otter and Badger Safari!) as a pod covering several square miles of the North Sea passed by, I’ve taken photos like this one on flat seas in beautiful weather

White-beaked Dolphin,dolphin watching trips,whale watching trips,Northern Experience Wildlife Tours

and I’ve had brief encounters in conditions where I was surveying but would never have taken clients out.  I’ve spent several hours watching them bow-riding

and I’ve laid on the front of a boat, looking down at a dolphin that was bow-riding upside down looking at me.

On Friday though, we witnessed behaviour that myself and Andy (who was also on board) had never come across before.  We think that what happened was a small group, including a tiny calf, were resting near the surface and we inadvertently woke them up.  The first indication we had that there were any dolphins around was when an adult crossed close to our bow, tail-slapping.  Another adult (or possibly the same one) then began breaching and for 20 minutes we found ourselves shadowed by a pod of about 10 animals.  No bow-riding, no interaction other than escorting us as we travelled slowly through their area, and a rare insight into the behaviour of a pod of dolphins protecting the next generation.  Eventually the pod dropped away from us and, as we headed south, we saw them for the final time as they milled about distantly in our wake.

We’ve got just one place still available for our September Royal Quays trips (that space is on September 22nd), our Whale and Dolphin Cruise from Seahouses on September 8th is filling rapidly and we’ve got a few spaces on our Farne Deeps trip from Royal Quays in search of White-beaked Dolphin, Minke Whale and seabirds on August 15th and our evening RIB trips from Seahouses.  Click here for more details or to book, or call 01670 827465 to reserve your place before they’re all sold out.

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