Photo Blog

I love observing nature and the changing seasons during my Norfolk countryside dog walks accompanied by my ever-faithful canine companion Starrydog. I especially enjoy taking photos of Norfolk butterflies, wildflowers and other flora and fauna that I happen across while exploring local nature reserves. Visit my Norfolk nature photo blog to keep up to date with my photographic adventures and enjoy my butterfly photos.

Rainbows and Ripples

On a boat trip in Tenerife I was fortunate to have my closest ever short-finned pilot whale (globicephala macrorynchus)  and bottlenose dolphin encounter on a gloriously sunny December's day. They are so giant and yet so graceful in their element that it is always magical experience for me to gain a fleeting glimpse into their mysterious life that is so very very different from our own.

I had taken a trip once many years ago for only a distant fleeting sighting and that was what I was expecting again this time, so I was quick to grab a backlit fairly distant shot at the first sight of a pilot whale dorsal fin. The notches and marks on a cetacean's dorsal fin are unique to every individual and are used as key identifying marks for scientists researching the pilot whale pods in Tenerife

But I was in luck, the pilot whale pod ventured much closer. As I watched them spout water from their blowholes I saw that the droplets were being refracted into a beautiful rainbow through the sunlight.

At one point one mature pilot whale swam right across the bow of the boat enabling a top down shot through dappled water and light into the sea.

After a last look at the pilot whales we moved on in search of the bottlenose dolphins. Once again we were in luck and watched a small family exhibiting fascinating behaviour. It seemed like the pod was working as an organised team in herding a shoal of fish, much in the way a collie might herd a flock of sheep, curving round in arcs and keeping them tightly packed together in a group. Except of course individual dolphins would then occasionally take it in turns to nip in for a quick snack. There were several calves in the group which may perhaps have been observing this complex team hunting and feeding technique in preparation for adulthood.

Bottlenose dolphin herding a shoal of fish accompanied by a juvenile bottlenose dolphin (above) and baby calf (bottom right).

The group worked closely as a co-ordinated team to keep the shoal of fish close together.

Its not all smiles for the fish, this bottlenose dolphin was putting its razor sharp teeth to good use.