We are planning on tweeting regular updates to our Twitter followers during the survey on 18th August, so do look out for the #swsurvey hashtag! https://twitter.com/MARINElife_UK
In just a few days, MARINElife volunteer surveyors with the help of the RSPB and many trained ESAS (European Seabird at Sea) surveyors are going to survey for Bottlenose dolphin and the globally endangered Balearic Shearwater along the entire coastline between Portland Bill in Dorset and Ilfracombe north Devon (including Lundy Island) in just 1 day! It's an exciting, ambitious and important project to help us and other conservation partners understand much more about these two species and how we can help protect and conserve them in the south west. This is a unique one off project which will hugely facilitate the ongoing work to protect these two species:
We've already catalogued over 100 bottlenose dolphins, but we still don't know exactly how many they are, where they feed or where they breed. The more we know, the more we can do to protect them and during our unique survey we are hoping to build on our understanding of population structure and feeding, calving and nursery areas for bottlenose dolphins and update our estimate of the south west Bottlenose dolphin population size.
The Balearic shearwater is the only globally endangered seabird regularly occurring in the UK. Every summer 1000 or more of these birds migrate up the coast of France, across the channel and along the South West coast. With this survey, we hope to establish a robust baseline to help identify changes in status and help inform conservation actions, gather UK population data for Balearic shearwaters during a time when animals visit UK waters to moult, and help establish a UK population estimate and maximise our ability to estimate numbers in this region, as just surveying one smaller area in a day may be misleading as Balearic shearwaters are often seen in flight, passing through an area.