Saturday, 21 August 2010

A fortuitous date with Risso's

Having fled Mousa on Thursday afternoon due to the severe weather that was forecast, I was relieved to wake up to a bright, calm and even sunny (!) morning on Friday, enabling a return to Mousa. However, I rapidly began to get anxious and frustrated, when, having arrived at the boat for a 10.30am departure, we were still sat on the boat at the pier after 11am waiting for a cruise-boat load of tourists to arrive. Fortunately though, this turned in our favour as news came in of a pod of Risso’s dolphins in Mousa Sound making their way north – in our direction. Having just received a call to say the tourists would still not be there for another half an hour, Tom, the Mousa Ferry operator, very kindly took us out into the Sound in search of the pod. Within just 5 minutes, we had spotted and caught up with the animals. There were between 20 and 30 individuals, including at least 3 calves. It was hard to tell quite how many there were in total as they were all quite loosely aggregated across a wide area. We observed several individuals half-breaching out of the water and some tail-slapping too. All in all, it was a stunning display and more than worth a belated return to Mousa. Thanks very much to Tom, and his right-hand man Willie, for taking us out to enjoy these spectacular animals in such a responsible manner.

Adult Risso's dolphin with calf in Mousa Sound (Rob Fray)