|Photo: Living Seas|
Living Seas have organised a number of dolphin and whale watching events over the next few weeks in Lancashire and Cumbria, to try and get an idea of just how many cetaceans are out there.
The events are part of national studies tying in with the Sea Watch Foundations’ National Whale and Dolphin Watch Week (which runs until 4th August) and the Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week (which runs until 11th August).
"All of the whale and dolphin watches are free and open to anyone and everyone (no need to book places)," organiser Emily Baxter told us. "They take place over a few hours so people can just come and go as they please and our staff will be there recording sighting, talking to people and answering questions throughout."
It should be no surprize to learn that whales are part of the flora and fauna of Morecambe Bay: regular cetacean sightings in the Irish Sea and off the Isle of Man include Harbour Porpoise, Short-Beaked and Bottlenose Dolphins. Whales sighted include Minke, Fin and the Long-finned Pilot whale.
Back in 1989 a beached whale was given a burial at Lancaster University for research purposes and its appearance was a feature of a number of Really Heavy Greatcoat cartoons published in local listings title On the Beat.
|Flashback: A whale beached locally in 1989 prompted a cetacean appearance in loccal comic strip The Really Heavy Greatcoat by John Freeman and Nick Miller|
An eight ton immature female fin whale was found dead at Heysham Harbour in November 2000. It was buried on Salt Ayre Tip. A minkie whale also beached off Grange-over-Sands in 2009.
In January, Ken Willman struck lucky when he came across a lump of the world's most vaulable dung - better known as ambergris - while out walking his dog. He was offered £43,000 for the rare substance. (Ambergris is a kind of cholesterol that forms around the by-product of a sperm whale’s main food source, squid — the hard beaks of which occasionally get caught in the animal’s lower gut). The find prompted authorities to warn people to be careful on the Bay if they decided to seek out similar 'gold'.
Saturday 27th July, 1.30-5.30 pm, Heysham Port, North Harbour Wall, Lancashire
A sea watch for whales and dolphins, just drop by at any time to help record sightings data. Parking on the North Harbour Wall, bring binoculars if you have them. Grid ref: SD 396 601 Post code: LA3 2UH.
Saturday 10th August, 12-4pm, Heysham Port, North Harbour Wall, Lancashire
A sea watch for whales and dolphins. Parking on the North Harbour Wall, bring binoculars if you have them. Grid ref: SD 396 601 Post code: LA3 2UH.
• More details: www.irishsea.org/events/events-north-west-england/ (there are also events in Cumbria) or for more information contact Emily on 01539 816318 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Living at Seas team are recording an item with BBC Radio Lancashire today that will be out on Drive Time this afternoon or on Friday afternoon. Listen out for it.
• Seawatch Foundation: www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk (download a PDF detailing the cetaceans of the Irish Sea here)
• Lancashire Mammals: www.lacfs.org.uk/Mammals.htm