Thursday, 8 December 2011
Tonight I attended a fabulous talk by Mike Tetley on Marine Mammals. Mike is a local lad (from Sunderland originally) but has travelled the world studying these sea creatures. Lucky git! His enthusiasm is magnificent and his passion an absolute joy. I could have listened to him for hours. There are approximately 80 species of Whales and Dolphins around the world, and of those, 20 species have been seen around the UK coast. Thats a quarter of the worlds species, which is an excellent number. And of those 20 UK species, 18 have been seen in the north easts waters. 3 species in particular are considered reasonably common, the Harbour Porpoise, the White Beaked Dolphin and the Bottle Nosed Dolphin. The rest range from fairly common to very scarce. I have seen 5 species off our coast, the 3 mentioned above and Minke Whale and Humpback Whale. So there are still a lot of species for me to catch up with! We also have 2 species of Seal on the north east coast, the Common Seal (above picture) and the Grey Seal. In fact the Farne Islands holds one of worlds largest winter colonies of Grey Seal. Another good place to see Seals is the appropriately named Seal Sands in Teesside. But they can pretty much be seen anywhere up and down our coast. Of all the species mentioned above, the Seals are the easiest to spot. The rest require a bit of looking out at sea, or maybe even going out on a boat, but all are possible with a good bit of luck.