Dark night

by on Jul.12, 2012, under Birdwatching, North Sea, Northumberland, White-beaked Dolphin

This has been a difficult year for boat operators on the east coast, with unseasonable winds and frequent heavy rainfall making it unwise to head out to sea.

Tuesday was the first of this year’s evening pelagics to survive the weather so, as we set out from Royal Quays on the SarahJFK, I was full of optimism.  Soon after leaving the mouth of the Tyne, Allan spotted a Harbour Porpoise, although it remained typically elusive.  Kittiwakes were following us throughout the evening, no doubt wondering if we were going to throw any scraps overboard, Gannets and Fulmars were passing by and, all around us, the sky looked heavy with something…

I’d had a call earlier in the day to say that a small pod of dolphins were passing Newbiggin, so I took a guess on where they would be by mid-evening and asked Allan to plot a course that would take us through the area.  Sure enough, just where we expected them, 6 White-beaked Dolphins, including the smallest calf that I’ve seen in the ten years since we first found White-beaked Dolphins on one of our pelagic trips, appeared in front of the boat and then came in to bow-ride 🙂  They stayed with us for several minutes before heading south, probably to feed, and we continued north.    5 Manx Shearwaters were heading north, and a flock of 30 Common ScotersAll the while the weather around us was looking poor, and eventually we found ourselves in a heavy, misty drizzle as we headed back to port, and by the time we docked it was properly dark – not something we’d normally expect in mid-July.

Glowering, oppressive weather conditions, remarkably good visibility, a sea state that was ideal for cetacean spotting, a boat full of enthusiastic clients and a pod of dolphins…perfect 🙂

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