Monday, 9 March 2009

Our fundraiser was held on the 3rd at the Anchor's restaurant thanks to the Dreyer's of Mola Mola and went off very well. Thank you to everyone who came, there was quite a nice mixed turnout of skippers, tour boat operators and various other interested people. And a very big thank you to those who supported our research with donations, especially the tour companies who made larger donations - it's really made a difference to the number of sea days we're able to get out there now. Also a thank you to John Paterson, who kindly gave us all ten minutes on his very important work (see the albatross link to right) with sea birds to split the dolphin talks and help support our project!

We were out almost everyday last week trying to make the most of having three of us on the boat. Caroline Weir of Ketos Ecology ( has joined me for a few weeks on her way through to an offshore job in Angola and overlapped with Tess Gridley for a week, who has just left for Plettenberg Bay in SA to collect more bottlenose dolphin whistles with Vic Cockroft's lab down there. Just want to say a quick thanks to Tess for coming through and helping me out and I'm sorry we couldn't get you more whistles - you'll just have to come back in winter when they're more abundant! This was the first external collaboration for the project and I hope we'll be able to support many more in future - I certainly learnt a lot from having an acoustics person on the boat and we're currently working on trying to get a paper out of what we have recorded, so it was a productive visit.

We've had a few good dolphin days out there with the Heaviside's in particular being more abundant in the last week, but they were scarce at the point again today. Saw our first dusky dolphins today in the middle of the bay - just a small fast moving group of 3 which we unfortunately lost quite quickly. In my last post I mentioned the bottlenose feeding in the lagoon. When we launched the next day the dolphins swam right past the slipway and we got in a really long focal follow on them all the way around the south of the bay, around the point and down to Donkey Bay where we left them. They were feeding quite a lot in the bay but largely just pottering along once they got past the point. See photo of them feeding in proximity to some local fishermen and a great shot that Tess got near Donkey Bay of a younger animal jumping.

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