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Monday 17th July

Risso's dolphin chasing common dolphins

We had a couple of amazing trips today – a two hour private charter for a family this morning, and a four hour Discovery Voyage this afternoon. This morning we saw some fascinating behaviour from the Risso’s dolphins: huge splashes and leaps as well as the more usual sedate surfacing. The birds were very interested in the antics and at one point I was remarking that I had never seen hunting Risso’s dolphins being accompanied by gannets diving. On closer inspection it turned out that there were common dolphins in the mix as well, hence the gannet activity. However when they got closer to the Risso’s dolphins the larger species seemed to take exception to their presence, and it looked as though they were aggressively chasing them out of the area. Risso’s are known to exhibit aggression to other species elsewhere, such as false killer whales in the Azores. Their leaps were more reminiscent of bottlenose dolphins. We watched from a distance and the photos were taken with a long lens – we didn’t want to do what another boat was doing. Later in the trip we had some brief encounters with small groups of common dolphins, and also some grey seals. The afternoon four hour passengers saw lots more common dolphins and several groups of Risso’s, and we were able to get further out than we have done lately. There were more seabirds feeding out there and better sea conditions for watching.