Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 31

Thread: Harbour Porpoise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Harbour Porpoise

    Found around the coast of Caithness.
    Gills Bay, Large numbers can be found here when they gather to mate during July and August.
    Found to be regular visiters to Thurso Bay, Lybster Bay, Sinclair Bay, but can appear in most locations around the coast.
    Can grow to about 6 feet in length
    Numbers around the UK coast are in decline.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Scrabster
    Posts
    1,167

    Default

    I saw some in Thurso Bay last week and a single one last night.
    Away with the birds

  3. #3

    Default

    Saw lots on the ferry back from Orkney a few weeks ago in the Firth, just beautiful.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    In close orbit
    Posts
    4,584

    Default

    The best place is in Gills Bay Aug-Sept.
    We get a group turn up as regular as clockwork every year around the same time. If you sit on your boat, leave the engine running (but NO props turning) they'll come right up to your boat and bomb around it.

    If you turn the engine off, they seem to become a lot more wary. I believe that this is because they don't immediately recognise it as a generally non-threatening boat and stay away in case it's a large predator - like an Orca.

    Speak to the guys at North Coast Marine Adventures in John O'Groats of you want to get up close to Porpoise.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Caithness
    Posts
    5,424

    Default

    He he northener, I cheats sits up on the cliff above the bay an' waits for the inflatable to come to a gentle halt. Get a grand view through the binoculars but have also been out there amongst them a wonderful experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    In close orbit
    Posts
    4,584

    Default

    Nothing beats a free show, Lizz!

    I like porpoise, they never get any press like their bigger chums - the dolphins - yet they are very endearing creatures.

    I like to sit on the tubes of the RIB and watch them wizz past just below the surface. It always makes me smile when they tilt onto their sides to get a better look up at you.

    It really is a question of who's watching who?

    If there's a lot in Gills Bay and there's a bit of a chop on the surface, it's like watching a bunch of aquatic Hells Angels. You'll get a long line of them all surfing the same wave and rocketing up to the boat at full speed, every one of them puffing away like mad.

    Did you know that because of the noise they make, the old sailors' name for them is 'Puffing Pig'?
    In Caithness dialect they are 'Paelag'.
    Last edited by northener; 13-May-08 at 21:32. Reason: Added more waffle.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Caithness Harbour Porpoise sightings to 21-6-08

    Thurso Bay
    2nd May x2...7th May x1....10th May x10....30th May x8....2nd June x6.....6th June x7
    7th June x4.....16th June x7.....17th June x5
    Lybster
    2nd Feb x1....10th Feb x5....22nd March x3.....23rd March x4.....30th March x2...
    9th April x1......15th May x3.....18th May x2......31st May x5....1st June x1
    11th June x1......15th June x4
    Whaligoe, Ulbster
    19th May x2
    Pentland Firth
    9th June x?
    Holborn Head
    23rd Feb x4-6

    HP are seen in many areas off the Caithness Coast, i'm sorry if your area is not included but i can only show those areas i have on record

    Colin Bird
    Sea Watch Coordinator NE

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Scrabster
    Posts
    1,167

    Default

    They are visible in Thurso Bay every evening, that conditions are suitable for viewing. Up to 9.
    2 at Brimms Ness 03.07.08.
    Away with the birds

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Harbour Porpoise

    Kas is correct, in fact she reports all the Thurso Bay sightings.

    In June she made 13 sightings 1st,2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 16th,17th,21st,25th, 26th,27th,28th,30th.
    July a further 3 sightings 1st,2nd, 5th.

    Lybster
    June 11th,15th,27th 29th
    July 13th,28th
    Dunnet Bay
    July 3rd, 4th (20 animals recorded on the 4th)
    Gills Bay
    July 27th (this could be the start of the Summer Gathering that takes place each year)

    If anyone else has any sightings please pass them on.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Scrabster
    Posts
    1,167

    Default

    I thought they had left Thurso Bay as I wasnt seeing any for a week. Thankfully they are still about 10 yesterday and 5 on Saturday.
    Away with the birds

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Scrabster
    Posts
    1,167

    Default

    Poproise numbers have swollen in Thurso bay with a high count of 39 this morning in Thurso Bay. This was the number I saw surface in the bay as I did a sweep with the telescope this morning, and there would have been more than this as there would have been ones under the water that I would have not been able to count. This morning was 100% IDEAL watching conditions.

    Then this afternoon I took a trip on the North Coast Explorer which runs out of John O Groats and we has them right up to the boat in Gills bay. It was brilliant. If anyone wants a close encounter with these great creatures then by the end of the month you are almost guaranteed to see them.
    Last edited by kas; 10-Aug-08 at 21:30.
    Away with the birds

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default

    Harbour Porpoise are being seen almost daily off Lybster but only in small numbers.
    2 yesterday 19th Aug - 5 today the 20th Aug.

    Harbour Porpoise are again back in Gills Bay but not in the numbers we are used to seeing.
    This morning 20th Aug i only counted 6 not the 40-60 we were getting at this time in previous years.

    Colin

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    3,785

    Default

    Is there a reason why numbers have dropped so drastically Seabird?


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default

    Not that i'm aware of Wifie.
    I checked the result of this years Seawatch week and it seems the Porpoise reports are the same as previous years.
    It could be a simple case of the Porpoise moving about the coast.
    Thurso, if you go back 5 years or so had lots of Porpoise in the Bay.
    The numbers reported there this year is a lot higher than the last 4 years.
    It could be Thurso gain and Gills loss.
    Things could change, remember the only predictable thing about animal is their unpredictability.
    The Wild life tour boats relied on the Porpoise from late July to the end of the season for customers.
    Without the Porpoise they are going to struggle for business.
    Things may change back next year.

    Colin

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Lots of Harbour Porpoise

    Kas over at Thurso Bay is seeing large numbers of Porpoise during the evening.
    The numbers being seen is between 40 and 60.
    Most evening this week the sea has been calm in the bay so if you have a pair of binoculars it's worth a look.
    Last night there was also a Risso's Dolphin and a Basking Shark.
    This time of year Porpoise can get quite animated, with lots of splashing and small leaps.
    It's worth a look if your in the Thurso area.

    Colin Bird
    Seawatch Foundation
    NE Scot Coordinator

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Caithness
    Posts
    5,424

    Default Just a thought.

    Would the dredging that has been taking place at Gills along with the ferry activity have any effect on the porpoises or their food source?
    As we are now reading reports that sonor exploration may affect other species such as dolphins could the increased noise be a factor allowing for the fact that sound is magnified under water and also they might be subject to sub harmonics that are inaudible to human

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LIZZ View Post
    Would the dredging that has been taking place at Gills along with the ferry activity have any effect on the porpoises or their food source?
    As we are now reading reports that sonor exploration may affect other species such as dolphins could the increased noise be a factor allowing for the fact that sound is magnified under water and also they might be subject to sub harmonics that are inaudible to human
    Dredging at Gills is unlikely to effect the HP.
    The Dolphins seen at Wick last month followed a dredger and seemed to be attracted to it when it started it's engines.
    HP are often found near Harbours, so every day movement and noise of ships and boats dont seem to be a problem.
    At Lybster they will move away from moving boats, but are quite happy to swim near them when they are stationary even if the engine is still running
    Sonar can be a problem, but there are different frequencies of sonar.
    I'm no expert in that field, but some of the latest sonar can be quite damaging to any creatures including humans if under water when it is used.
    Some deep diving Whales loose their ability to sence their surrounding when sonar is used, this makes them panick and rush to the surface and they then suffer from the bends and it is this that kills them. (nitrogen bubbles in the blood)
    I dont think we will ever know why the HP at Gills are fewer than previous years, it could be a simple case of lack of food in that area.
    My last count of HP at Gills was 6 but i have heard that there is about 12 at the moment.
    Perhaps they are much later this year.
    It's very much a case of watch, wait and see what happens and trying to learn something from the situation.
    Thats what Sea watching is all about.

    Colin

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Caithness
    Posts
    5,424

    Default

    Once again thank you for the information seabird, now i'm off to book a week's viewing through kas's telescope!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Gills Porpoise.

    Some good news for anyone wanting to see the Gills Harbour Porpoise.
    I was told by a friend who was out on the North Coast Explorer today, that they counted about 60 Harbour Porpoise in Gills Bay.
    It looks very much like the Porpoise from Thurso Bay have now moved to Gills.
    Probably very much to the relief of the tour boat operators.

    Colin

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Lybster
    Posts
    679

    Default Harbour Porpoise. 20-9-08

    Harbour Porpoise are a daily sighting at the moment in Gills Bay where the numbers have improved.
    They can also bee seen Daily in Thurso Bay and in smaller numbers off Lybster.
    The Lybster Porpoise seem to prefer a falling tide, but are quite close to the shore if you go to the cliffs to the North of Lybster rather than the Swiney Hill Viewpoint.

    Colin

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •