The whales – at least two and probably three animals, including one juvenile, were originally spotted on the morning of the 03 April from Galley Head in West Cork by local birders and IWDG members.
This unusual sighting has the experts confused, and highlights how little we still know about the behaviour and biology of these magnificent visitors to Ireland’s coastal waters
Here’s an excerpt from the Irish Whale and Dolphin group’s report of the humpback sighting.
We’re not quite sure how to interpret this sighting, as it’s a little like getting a Christmas card in June. So whether this a late record from the 2011/12 large whale season, or the 1st record of the 2012/13 season is unclear. This is the 1st time since the large whale project commenced in 1999 that humpback whales have been recorded along the Irish South or Southwest coast during April, which has been, up till now, the one month in which large whales have consistently been absent from our inshore waters.
While efforts to relocate the whales from land the following day were unsuccessful, there is a strong possibility they are still in the area, with local whale watching operator Colin Barnes suggesting there is sufficient food in the local bays to hold the whales for some time.
If you are in the area and want to look out for the humpbacks the IWDG suggests vantage points at Ardfield, Dirk Cove and Galley Head itself, or Cloghna Head overlooking Rosscarbery Bay. Please report all Irish cetacean sightings to the IWDG through the sightings form on the organisation’s website.
Photo Credit: © Ciaran Cronin, April 2004, all rights reserved