A decade of whales, dolphins and seabirds
Wednesday 30th June, 2010
NORTHERN EXPERIENCE WILDLIFE TOURS
30 June 2010
EMBARGO DATE; Immediate release
A DECADE OF WHALES, DOLPHINS AND SEABIRDS
A groundbreaking Northumberland company is celebrating 10 years of organising boat trips from the River Tyne and adding to the store of scientific knowledge on the distribution of some of our most mysterious wildlife.
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours, based in Scotland Gate, have been operating their unique Northumberland wildlife safaris since 2008 but Martin Kitching, owner and senior guide, began the Northumberland pelagic programme in 1998, initially operating out of Blyth before joining forces with Allan Skinner, skipper of the SarahJFK, in 2001.
With ten years of boat trips from the Tyne behind him, there have been some impressive highlights, as Martin explained “We’ve had some incredibly close views of Minke Whales, including 2 feeding close to the boat in 2007, White-beaked Dolphins, Gannets, Fulmars, petrels, shearwaters, skuas and even Ocean Sunfish. Allan’s skill as a boatman has been invaluable to our trips and we’ll be working with him for many years to come”.
The success of Martin’s pelagic trips led to him being appointed as Lead Surveyor for the Northeast Cetacean Project (NECP), a joint project between Natural England, Marinelife, Northern Experience Wildlife Tours and the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club, which is using targeted surveys, casual sightings records and the Northern Experience Pelagics to map the distribution and abundance of whales, dolphins and seabirds in the North Sea off Northeast England.
This year’s Northern Experience Pelagics which run on Friday evenings in late July and early August, as well as the first and third Saturdays in September, are proving as popular as ever but Martin is always keen to see new faces “We always have a good mix of experienced and less-experienced passengers on board and our pelagics have always been really enjoyable social events as well as offering the opportunity to search for some of the most iconic wildlife that occurs around our coast”.
To find out more about this year’s trips, call Martin on (01670) 827465.
Northern Experience Lead Surveyor
Tel: +44 (0) 1670 827465
NOTES TO EDITORS
North East Cetacean Project
The project was initiated to discover more about the whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) found off the Northumberland coastline. A sightings website and postcard survey have been launched to engage the public in the project and gather more information on these species from the multiple work and pleasure craft which will be out on the waters of the North Sea off the Northumberland Coast from spring 2010. Further information can be found at http://www.northeastcetaceans.org.uk/
Marinelife is a Charitable Limited Company established to co-ordinate and develop a growing portfolio of global research and monitoring projects. Through these we aim to further the conservation of the wildlife of coasts and oceans through scientific investigation and educational activities. Marinelife continues to work in partnership with a number of other research groups, spearheading an international initiative, the Atlantic Research Coalition (ARC) that aims to describe changes in the status of whales and dolphins at a European scale.
Further information on Marinelife can be found by visiting our website at http://www.marine-life.org.uk/
Natural England is the government’s independent advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 their work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours was founded in 2006, offering guided wildlife and bird-watching trips throughout Northeast England year-round and offshore wildlife cruises in July, August and September. Northern Experience owner, Martin Kitching, has organised offshore wildlife trips from Northumberland since 1998 and was one of the finders of the first Wilson's Petrel to be seen in the British North Sea. Martin Kitching is the former Field Trips Officer for the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club and former editor, and current author, and sub-editor, of the highly rated annual report, Birds in Northumbria. Further information can be found by visiting our website at http://www.northernexperiencewildlifetours.co.uk/
Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club
The Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club was founded in 1958 and membership is open to all with a beneficial interest in ornithology. The club aims to provide members with news of local ornithological interest through monthly bulletins, the annual report for the area, Birds in Northumbria, and other occasional publications. Indoor meetings, with guest speakers, take place on the second Thursday of each month from September to April, at the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, and there are regular Field Trips throughout the year. http://www.ntbc.org.uk/
International Year of Biodiversity
2010 has been designated as International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations. Since 2002 some 200 countries have been working towards targets to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity. In the UK this is being led by the Natural History Museum funded by DEFRA and supported by over 150 partners including Natural England.
The focus will be to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity, why it matters to everyone at both a global and local level, and to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding biodiversity by outlining threats as well as accomplishments by individuals, communities and governments to the problem. It will be a chance for people to get involved and help conservation efforts needed to save our native species which are currently being lost at a rate 100 times greater than the natural rate of extinction and explain how we can all play a part in achieving this.
Press contact; Martin Kitching, 01670 827465 email@example.com