Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

Strand Feeding, Dolphins (1)

These photographs were taken over a period of 3 days. These are from the ‘to do’ files, images that were skipped over for others taken at the same.

This web site has many new viewers that may not have seen any of the previous projects and this subject is so rare I decided to publish two new articles on this Dolphin pods habits. These are new photographs.

Bottlenose Dolphins are known to be group hunters, members of a pod working together to capture prey. However only a rare few, worldwide, drive fish on shore (stranding) and follow them in the catch them.

The photographs here are from what may be the only ones that have learned to hunt this way and actually pass it to their young. We have been lucky enough to document these hunts.

Note; We always kept a respectful distance, which is critical to interacting with this group. A conservation group was on hand during the days shooting.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

Above one of the hunters swims within a few meters of shore (the water depth here plays an important role) inspecting us and the area to be sure it is safe to beach themselves and their prey.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

A Dolphin will create circles, whirlpools really, around schools of fish. Basically they are herding fish where they want them to be.

The Bottlenose Dolphin weighs an average of 300 kg (660 pounds). It can reach a length of just over 4 metres (13 feet). Many of these are the larger members of the Pod so they are bigger and stronger.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

Here a Dolphin is creating a big, huge, wave as the last step to the herding of fish. Even if we did not see the start of a drive, the splash here can be heard (no really) from very far away. This is an amazing amount of water being moved.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

Finally a hunter will speed to shore and trap fish either on shore or between two hunters. Above a Dolphin has a school trapped.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (1)

Last, and with luck a fish is eaten, the Dolphin roll and splash back out to deeper water to repeat the whole process.

The Dolphin always come in on their right side. Their dorsal fins are scarred and even from a distance you can see which ones are the strand feed hunters.

The above all happens in a matter of a few seconds. Sometimes it happens down and away from me, other times I am almost ambushed and they drive into shore directly at me. It’s so fast even knowing what to look for you get surprised.

We always keep a distance from the water. First there are laws protecting these rare animals. Second, it would be like getting hit by a car. They can swim at 35 MPH. And they do.

Note; to view other articles select ‘Dolphin’ from the Category List on the side menus.

 

6 thoughts on “Strand Feeding, Dolphins (1)”

    1. I was archiving hard drives and have many never published. The number of new visitors is pretty big so I thought to share these.

      Unfortunately the shape of the shore is changing and they may move to further places.

  1. Impressive photos Ted and very interesting article. I watched this hunting technique on television but it must be really exciting to experience it live.

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