Thursday, 10 July 2008

Sunshine & dolphin madness

Gosh… sunshine AND feeding common dolphins! Yay! The mixture of sunshine and dolphins plus a large dosage of cabin fever resulted in a wee bit of madness…

A relatively quiet day on the RRS James Cook (equipment broke last night, and was being fixed today)… everyone busy sitting processing data at computers quietly, and blinking wide-eyed after discovering the sunshine outside. So we did long slow transects towing the temperature chain through the water (this is a long cable with temperature loggers at regular intervals from the surface to around 60m). I was processing some of the fish data, manually counting all the fish schools so that I can plot them, and see how they match with the bird data (see Andy Webb’s blog for a nice plot of the feeding gannets – nicely clustered over the bank where we’d measured lots of internal wave activity).

Meanwhile the birders were busy spotting… um… virtually no birds… though Andy did get pooped on while on watch :o) I went out for a spell of birding, and in 2 hours saw all of one or two fulmars, the odd gannet, one very distant bonksy… and then… Adam spotted, out of the corner of his eye a group of gannets hovering and swooping in the distance, and as we got closer we found a group of around 10 common dolphins feeding underneath the gannets (the gannets taking advantage of the fish brought the surface by the common dolphins). This activity resulted in much mad behaviour by the scientists (see photos to the right & below) & certainly I was grinning :o)

Right: Andy estimating the angle to the dolphins

Below: there are the dolphins! Silly tomfoolery after the event...

So that’s today’s blog… short and sweet… and compliments to the chef on a very excellent banoffee pie today!

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