Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 16:15 UK
Where to see bottlenose dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins
Some dolphins have been known to live for 50 years

Cardigan Bay is one of the last remaining places in the UK where bottlenose dolphins live.

It is estimated that around 130 bottlenose dolphins are resident in the area.

Dolphins can be seen from the shore along the length of the bay from Cardigan to the Dyfi Estuary.

The best locations, however, tend to be in the south of Ceredigion and the best times of year to see them are between April and September.

Watching dolphins at sea
Maintain a steady speed and course
Do not chase
Do not manoeuvre erratically
Do not attempt to feed or touch them
Avoid dolphins with their young

Dolphins are highly sociable mammals, living together in groups or "pods" and communicating through high-piched clicks or whistles.

They hunt together too and if you're patient, you can sometimes catch one of these hunting packs as you watch from the shore.

They can be high speed surface chases, with fish being thrown up into the air and acrobatic displays as the dolphins feed and play.

One of the most popular viewpoints to see the bottlenose dolphin in Cardigan Bay is New Quay.

A crowd gathered on the village quayside is often a sign that the dolphins are in. They come quite close to the harbour wall, feeding around a reef not far from shore.

Another good watching place is the New Quay lookout, a renovated coastguard's hut overlooking Bird Rock, so even if you don't see a dolphin, you're likely to see all kinds of seabirds here.

The Chough - Britain's rarest crow - is a frequent visitor to these cliffs, as well as Razorbills and Guillemots.

Janet Baxter is a professional photographer living in Borth and she's spent many watching hours waiting for that perfect dolphin shot (see the picture above!).

As well as New Quay, she suggests viewing from Mwnt, Ynys Lochtyn near Llangrannog and Aberporth. Wildlife boat trips also depart from a number of coastal resorts, including New Quay, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth.

Dolphins may be spotted at any time of day but Janet's advice is to opt for early mornings and evenings during summer when there's increased boat traffic.

Ideal conditions for spotting, she says, are during calm, sunny weather, at any state of the tide but often around or just after high tide.

The presence of the dolphins is one of the main reasons why Cardigan Bay has been chosen an European Special Area of Conservation.

Harbour porpoise - which are smaller than dolphins - also live here, along with the Atlantic Grey Seal and scores of seabirds.

These animals are protected by law and boats using the area are urged to stick to local speed limits and an agreed code of conduct.




SEE ALSO
Bottlenose dolphins leap up chart
09 Dec 08 |  Science & Environment
Rise in Welsh dolphin sightings
15 Jul 08 |  Mid Wales


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