Puffins & Penguins on Dingle Peninsula & a pink island on the Blaskets
Puffins and Penguins on Dingle Peninsula Co. Kerry, Ireland
This is a fabulous time of year for marine wildlife around the Blasket Islands in Dingle Bay, Co. Kerry, S.W. Ireland with daily regular sightings of Minke whales, common dolphins and basking shark. The Minke whales and common dolphins are feeding on the plentiful shoals of lesser sand eels ( not eels but lance fish - Ammodytes tobianus) present in the Bay and the basking shark are feeding on their favourite type of phytoplankton which is present around the Blasket islands this time of year when the water temperature is around 12 degrees C. Basking shark congregate around the Blasket islands in great numbers for these few weeks feeding on this plankton and then engaging in parallel swimming and other types of mating behaviour, including breaching clear out of the water, which makes for a great wildlife spectacle. With sea water temperature approaching 13 degrees C we speculate that it will not be long (approx. 3 weeks) before these magnificent ocean mega fauna start heading north and then back out into the deep again to feed on deep water plankton for the rest of the year, so if you want a chance to see them you should book a tour onlne on www.marinetours.ie NOW.
Puffins Galore on the water by Cathedral Rocks on Blasket islands
Puffins (Fratercula arctica) are back around the Blasket islands for their summer vacation (actually their breeding season) and will be with us until the end of July.
The females are presently incubating their one egg now and rafts of their mates can daily be seen on the water beside Cathedral Rocks and Inish na Bró on the Afternoon Eco Marine tour from Ventry Harbour (Ceann Trá). Despite what you may be told by the boat operators in Dingle town, you will not see them around Great Blasket island itself as there is way too much "traffic" there for this oceanic bird, but only around the outer Blasket islands which we visit on our 4 hr afternoon tour. I suppose if you are used to living the rest of the year in miid Atlantic and off the east coast of Canada a few fishing boats chugging around and a few ferry boats to the Blaskets passing by and a few angling boats from Dingle town seem like a lot of traffic! Book a trip with Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours and see this little bird that has been recorded migrating from the Blaskets to Canada ( Heart's Ease in Newfoundland is due west of here) in under 10 days. Maybe we should all be eating their diet of greater sand eels (Hyperoplus lanceolantus) for more energy and "Get up and Go!"
A (Sea)Pink island and Lesbian Penguins in Dingle Aquarium
We think that the Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours ecological prize for May ,2014 should be shared equally between the beautiful appearance of the sea pink (sea thrift - Armeria maritima) on Inish na Bró, one of the outer Blasket islands, where the first flush of pink appeared on May 15th, and where the whole island will now have a pink cover for about a month despite the ongoing botanical battle with the patch of white sea campion (Silene maritima, a variation of Silene vulgaris) which has established a foothold above the old landing and sheep fold, and has the advantage of an enriched soil (there) and an earlier flowering period than the sea pink.
Incredibly on the one peninsula in West Kerry, Ireland, apart from rafts of puffins at Inishvickillaun and Inish na Bró and Cathedral Rocks, you can also now see Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua), normally living around 55 degrees South towards Antarctica and the Falkland islands, in the Dingle Aquarium and for 2014 season a pair have established a lesbian relationship in the aquarium. This behavious (courting, bowing, making a nest together etc) has been recorded at other aquariums worldwide, although apparantly gay relationships are more common among penguins than lesbian ones and Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours would like to nominate Penelope and Missy as Honory Grand Marshalls for the 2015 St. Patricks Day Parade in New York to help to break the ice for the excluded Irish Gay and Lesbian Group there with the organisers of the parade - the Sons of Erin, The Ancient Order of Hibernians etc. - as ambassadors of a modern, diverse and liberal Ireland where puffins from the Arctic and lesbian penguins from the Antarctic can comfortably live together.
And we have a pink Blasket Island (Inish na Bró) to prove it!
Book a trip now on www.marinetours.ie with Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours departing daily from Ventry Harbour (Ceann Trá), weather and sea conditions permitting, and / or pay a visit to Dingle aquarium to view all this diverse wildlife!
Please remember the basking shark will more than likely be gone by mid June and the puffins migrate back to sea again towards the end of July, but more than likely there are some very interesting mega fauna (like humpback whales!) making their way towards the Blaskets and Dingle Bay as we write! Dum.....da......dumm........da........dumm......dumm....