WDCS volunteer Pablo signs off with his final entry before leaving the Bardsey surveys…
The last few days on the Lleyn peninsula have been frustrating ones. The weather did indeed close in and all surveys were off for Friday and Saturday. But no need to be down! We’ve had a weekend of turnover and the team has evolved. Mike, database extraordinaire, has gone back to the WDCS offices and been replaced by Sam and Charlotte. Sam didn’t have long to settle in as he has already joined Rob on Bardsey Island (who finally made it over on Sunday!). Additionally, Laura is joining the mainland crew and replacing me on Monday. So lots of new faces!Sunday saw our first venture out on the water. Pine and I were both raring to go out on CO814 with Sion, a fisherman from Sarn; ready to take award winning photos of the elusive Risso’s dolphin. This was sadly, not to be. After a four hour survey covering a vast area was completed, we had not seen one cetacean. Not even a glimpse!
Field work can never be all glamour and excitement, so this has to be expected from time to time. The famous Robert Lott once said, “Recording an absence is just as important as recording a presence”. A truer word has never been spoken, but it doesn’t make it more fun! Our day on the boat was brightened by a few grey seals and the ever reliable sea bird life of the Lleyn peninsula. We saw our first razorbills of the project and a solitary puffin, which lacked its bright colours of the summer.
After a disappointing start to the day, all was not lost. Firstly, we had received great news from Rob and Sam who had a great spotting of four Risso’s dolphins from their boat across to Bardsey Island. Then Bea and Charlotte spotted some bottlenoses just off their vantage point on Mynedd Mawr, and then the dynamite combination of Pine and the big eyes came to our rescue. In the dying hours of the day, a pod of five or six Risso’s dolphins (including a calf) had come to the shore to feed. It was a fantastic send off to a fantastic week. This part of the world has both stunning vistas and incredibly diverse wildlife. I can only hope to return to the Lleyn peninsula with the WDCS in the future!