Posted on behalf of Kila - WDCS Canine Research Assistant
It's official, we're finally back off on fieldwork, off to the far reaches of the Scottish mainland to keep a cetacean vigil during the next round of NATO "War Games", or "Joint Warrior" as it is otherwise known - basically where a bunch of countries send a couple of boats, submarines, lots of helicopters and fighter jets, and then play at being at war for a few weeks! It all sounds relatively harmless but it's the amount of noise they generate and the effect this has on the diverse marine life in waters of the West coast of Scotland (over 24 species of whales and dolphins...and porpoise!) that my humans and their ilk are concerned about. (I can sympathise with my flippered friends, I got lost once in London and all the noise from the buses, vans and cars got me all disorientated and i ended up hiding out in the tube station until someone came to help me - so I'm happy to help return the favour to the whales and dolphins! What goes around comes around they say!)
Who knows what this field trip will bring, last year we had a thoroughly successful and enjoyable time! Not only did we manage to keep the emission of sonar (the noisy stuff) out of the Moray Firth, saw lots of minke whale fins, braved some of the most ferocious storms, got a personal visit from the Canadian Navy (remember that lousy hat?), got buzzed several times by the low-flying very large mechanical and human-driven birds (helipocters or something?), saw bottlenose dolphins (15 or so members of an isolated population of only about 40 or so), witnessed harbour porpoises calving behaviour, made a very significant sighting of orca .... at the same time as a minke whale was seen making a rather hasty exit from the area, and most importantly .... kept a close eye on the local sheep population!!
I'm also very pleased to be able to announce the addition of a new team member for this field season .... Finally my humans have realised that I have a very busy schedule whilst in the field and although there are 2 of them there is only 1 of me ... so many sheep to count, blogs to write, bones to eat etc. etc. ... and so i have been appointed my very own assistant! Welcome to the team Harvey - WDCS Canine Research Assistant's Assistant!!! By his own admission he has no experience in the field and therefore has a lot to learn ... i shall therefore happily take him in paw and show him the ropes, and the sticks, and the sheep .... oh and the ducks!! (Now where did i put that orange sauce?? Oh and it's lambing season, i'll be needing the mint sauce too ... must go .... more soon!)