Last weekend we had a message from our friends on Bardsey Island, off the coast of North Wales, to say they had spotted a pod of orcas from land. WDC has conducted fieldwork on this beautiful, remote Welsh island for over a decade now, primarly focussing on Risso’s dolphin and harbour porpoise so we were thrilled to hear about this latest cetacean encounter.
It is quite unusual to see orcas off the Welsh Coast and so close to shore but when they are seen in these waters it usually around this time of year – late May/early June.
Previous Welsh encounters around the Pembrokeshire Islands have identified these orcas as being a part of Britain and Ireland’s only resident population – a small group of 5 females and 4 males – known as the West Coast Community. These orcas patrol a huge area to the west of the British Isles, from the southern Irish Sea, north to the Outer Hebrides and west along the entire length of Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard. There are concerns surrounding this isolated group of orcas though as no calves have been observed in the pod in over 20 years.