Have a whale of a time watching marine life

An acrobatic display by bottlenose dolphins. Photo by Harry Hogg.
An acrobatic display by bottlenose dolphins. Photo by Harry Hogg.

Humpback whales and a pod of more than 100 dolphins have made the Irish Sea an exciting place to be this summer.

And there is no better time to head out in search of some ocean giants than during National Marine Week, when The Wildlife Trusts celebrate UK sea life. 

From July 25 to August 9, the North West Wildlife Trusts will be holding events and encouraging people to spend some time by the sea.

One of these events will be at Heysham Port on August 1.

Marine conservation officer, Dr Emily Baxter, said:  “We want to inspire people to find, enjoy, learn, and value more of the fantastic marine life in our seas.”

Our UK seas are home to many species of cetaceans, the group of marine creatures which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises live in the Irish Sea most months of the year, whilst Risso’s dolphins, fin whales and minke whales are more seasonal visitors to our shores. 

Common dolphins, the most numerous dolphins in the world, are extremely sociable and sometimes whole groups can be seen leaping in the air at one time. 

Playful bottlenose dolphins are the species which give most people delight, often found close to shore, they put on displays and will approach boats to ride the bow waves. 

The first rule of dolphin-watching is to be patient!  It’s best on a calm day, keeping the sun behind you to avoid the glare from the sea.  A disturbance of the water’s surface is often the first sign but look out for large flocks of excited seabirds gathering overhead too; a sure sign there are plenty of fish about. 

During the seawatch event at Heysham, staff and volunteers will be sharing their knowledge. 

Visit www.irishsea.org/whats-on to find out more.