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Minke, Fin and Humpback whales off Loop Head

Minke whales are being seen regularly at present from Loop Head, Co Clare, presumably attracted by spawning herring.

The occurrence of Minke whales off Loop Head is seasonal with a well documented peak in sightings from September to October each year. This coincides with the inshore movement of herring which spawn off Kerry and Loop Head in the mouth of the Shannon estuary.

When conditions are favourable there are few better places to see Minke whales so regularly close to shore. At times you can hear there blow as they surface. Members of the local West Clare Wildlife Club were treated to this experience on Sunday (1 October) afternoon, where adults and children alike could sit and watch them surface, without the aid of binoculars, near the headland.

Anybody interested in seeing them should pick a day with little wind or light east/southeaserlies and take picnic down to the headland. The best site is near the tip just passed Dermot and Grainnes rock. Harbour porpoise have also been seen off Loop Head over the last few weeks.

UPDATE: On 3 October three blows were also observed off Loop Head at around 16:30. Earlier a splash and low blow was seen briefly which suggested a humpback whale was present. Thousands of gannets diving into the water creating a large splash could easily confuse an observer but eventually three blows were seen regularly on the horizon. Two were fin whales but one was smaller and more bushy suggesting a humpback whale. Many common dolphins could also be observed under the plunge diving gannets.

Any sightings please pass on to the IWDG on www.iwdg.ieLink to external site: .


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