Monday, February 8, 2016

Marine biodiversity

Today's tour featured a diverse variety of marine life. The cetacean species we encountered were bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. It was our first encounter with bottlenose dolphins this month, so it was nice to see them again. They were familiar faces, or rather familiar dorsal fins, that we know very well from our years of photo-ID research. It was a group we refer to as "Bubblemaker's group". Among the group we spotted the one we call "Bubblemaker", even though we didn't see the bubble-blowing behaviour that this dolphin has become well known for. The common dolphins were a bit more difficult to watch today as they were constantly on the move, but we did get to see their beautiful colour pattern well as they leapt over the waves. Our swimming clients this morning had the chance to swim with both species.

The other types of marine life was spotted on Vila Franca Islet, an extinct crater that is protected and is therefore an important area for several bird species as well as fish and some other marine life. Along the volcanic rocks of the islet we spotted several birds, including a little egret, sandpipers, rock pigeons, yellow-legged gulls and an Azorean buzzard soaring overhead in the distance. As usual the crevices of the rocks were also teeming with red rock crabs. So, despite the lack of whales during the tour, our clients ended up seeing a nice selection of marine biodiversity that the Azores has to offer.

Photos from today:

Our swimmers with common dolphins

The dolphin at the back is the famous "Bubblemaker"

Bottlenose dolphin face


Red rock crabs/Sally lightfoot crabs

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