Dingle Boat Trips & Great Blasket Island Adventure Tours
Magical Moments with Minke Whales; Puffins a plenty and Humpback Whales return to Dingle Bay, West Kerry, Ireland
Our 2017 dolphin, whale and bird watching season has got off to a flying start with 100% record for common dolphin spotting on each of our day tours for the two months of April and May; early sightings of humpback whales, although not as plentiful as in 2016 and plenty of puffins in "rafts" on the water out by the outer Blasket Islands of Inishvickillaun and Inish na Bró.
A highlight of the 2017 Irish whale watching season has been the uncharacteristic behaviour of the often plentiful local population of Minke whales in Dingle Bay, with some very magical moments with some very sociable animals, on one occasion 4 animals swimming close around our tour boat M.V. "Blasket Princess" and on another occasion a particularly friendly individual swimming under and alongside the boat and occasionally spy hopping the visitors on board - where the whale lifts his head out of the water ( not an easy thing for a whale to do) and makes direct eye contact with those on board. Sometimes we even had the opportunity to smell the whale's breath when he "blew" - or "blowed" in whaler's parlance - upwind from us, naturally with a strong smell of fermenting fish.
Onboard crew theories for this behaviour range from whether individual whales are in love with our 7 meter long grey rubber dinghy ( not much smaller than the average sized Minke whale at approx. 10 metres) which we tow behind us - although animal behaviourists would claim there is no love in the animal kingdom (?) - to whether, when the boat stops, the shoaling pursued shoals of fish ( more than likely sand eels) gather and seek protection under the vessel; or whether our techniques for interactive, nonintrusive, intuitive whale watching have just got better over the years........We are happy to believe a bit of all three onboard theories, one for each of the crew.
Humpback Whales return to Irish waters
Humpback whales returning to Irish waters for the 2017 migratory season appear to have "made landfall" from their breeding grounds in the Caribbean more southerly than in previous years with one individual we sighted in early 2017 previously sighted further north off the Aran islands, Co. Galway in 2016 season and some of the individuals seen further south in West Cork in early 2017 previously seen in West Kerry in the early 2016 season.
It will be interesting to see whether they redistribute as the 2017 whale watching season progresses and they change their diet from scoops of sand eels ( lance fish) to a diet of sprat and other whitebait. As humpback whales travel on average at about 8 knots, in whale time West Kerry and West Cork are only a day away from each other and that is the reason why the same animals are often shared by the two premier whale watching areas in Ireland.
We believe that in West Kerry the best is yet to come and look forward to an abundance of humpback whale sightings north and west of the Blaskets and Sybil Head as the 2017 Irish whale watching season progresses
Lots of Puffins until the end of July; Arctic Terns have arrived and breeding; rare Squacco Heron spotted in Ventry Harbour
PUFFINS, PUFFINS, PUFFINS.........EVERYBODY WANTS TO SEE PUFFINS THIS TIME OF YEAR!
At the moment, June 7th, 2017, the female puffin is sitting on the one, white, lightly speckled egg underground in the burrow, incubating it for perhaps another week, being fed by the male with generous beak full of sand eels. The nestling will then be fed by both parents for about 6 weeks and then deserted and left hungry and after several days fasting it crawls out of the burrow / nest and flutters down to the sea by night. It has to be on its guard as the Great Black - Backed Gulls who nest higher up the island hill above it - the avian equivalent of privileged, upper class, powerful and influential high ranking denizens - will swoop down and gobble it up if it shows any signs of weakness or dilly dallies outside the burrow too long especially in daylight.
Such is the life of birds..............
One lonely Squacco Heron made his way to the diminishing water ponds behind the sand dunes in Ventry Harbour a few weeks ago and was spotted by our eagle eyed wildlife guide! This species was last spotted in Kerry nearly 120 years ago when one was shot on the river Laune and another was shot in Waterville, Co. Kerry. He is a native mainly of Turkey and the Caspian and Black Sea and therefore is a long way from home. I hope that he enjoyed his two week stay in Ventry and comes back to visit us again soon!
Log of Whale Watch Tour Boat M.V. "Blasket Princess" Captain Whales Galore June 6th, 2017