Category Archives: Dolphin

Strand Feeding, Dolphins (2)

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.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)

The first photograph here is an example of the waves they create, and how they will follow fish right to shore. It’s important the contour of the beach is on an incline, under the water. This allows them to just roll back and be in enough water to push back out. They know exactly how and where to strand since an other Dolphin taught them the tricks.

This is also the perfect spot/angle to be to photograph a stranding.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)

Above is a Dolphin checking the shore for danger. The animal is just under the surface and swimming by at a high speed. The only way I knew he was coming through was the surface suddenly ‘raised up’ in front of me. I just pointed the lens and pushed the shutter, not knowing what I would get. We both saw each other about the same time.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)

Another Dolphin here circled a school and checked all around at the same time. They will hunt with their head up out of the water.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)

This is the ‘whirlpool of fish’ being herded and forced in the direction they want. Sometimes this is done so fast fish are flying out of the water from the pressure.

Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)
Strand Feeding Dolphins (2)

And finally… a needle fish. The fish hit shore with this Dolphin a hair behind. Not a big one, but there is a school of others right there.

When the tide is right, and the temperature is below the boiling point we might try to get out where they might be for another few sets like these. It is not an easy trip.

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

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.

 

Eye Contact, Dolphin

He slowly moved past me, checking the shore in case of chasing fish here. This is common and I have wondered what they are thinking when we look right at each other.

Eye Contact, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin – click to enlarge

Just as amazing is to watch a 1,400 lbs (635 kg) Dolphin gently slip under water and how they move it like it was solid matter.

Eye Contact, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin – click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin – click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Eye Contact, Dolphin – click to enlarge

When finally under there are nothing but small ripples. This is why it is so hard to see a Dolphin and figure where they might rise up again.

Checking On Me, Dolphin

When photographing Dolphin feeding along the shore at some point you become the center of interest. The Dolphin watch you just the same as you do them.

Checking On Me, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Checking On Me, Dolphin – click to enlarge

I was so intent on getting focus of the Dolphins eye it occurred to me too late, her calf was swimming by her side. Only the young ones dorsal fin was on the surface.

Checking On Me, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Checking On Me, Dolphin – click to enlarge

The adult swam by close but apparently the schools of fish had gone out deeper.

Checking On Me, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Checking On Me, Dolphin – click to enlarge

Catching A Fish Along The Shoreline, Dolphin

This Dolphin was taking advantage of new shallows in the shoreline.

Catching A Fish Along The Shoreline, Dolphin - click to enlarge
Catching A Fish Along The Shoreline, Dolphin – click to enlarge

While this Dolphin Pod is still pushing, or stranding, fish on shore they are also running them right along the surf.

Loud and furious for a moment as the big Dolphin plow through the surf.

Dolphin Fishing On Shore

Storms have changed the shore line here and these Dolphin just came up with a new way to hunt. Instead of pushing the fish right on the beach they will herd them along side the shallows and chase right behind them.

Dolphin Fishing On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphin Fishing On Shore – click to enlarge

The first step is to scare them into moving.

Dolphin Fishing On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphin Fishing On Shore – click to enlarge

When you see the water move, like above, for no particular reason something is happening below the surface.

Dolphin Fishing On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphin Fishing On Shore – click to enlarge

Next that disturbance, or wave quickly moves towards the shoreline. Click the image above to see the Dolphin starting to push towards the shallows.

Dolphin Fishing On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphin Fishing On Shore – click to enlarge

Finally the Dolphin has a school in the shallows and can chase them either left or right, but always between them and the deep water.

Click, or double tap, any image to view the full size gallery.

Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore

Pelicans were trying to steal a few of the fish pushed by some Dolphins here. There are many spitsĀ  along the ocean here, I was on one, the action down a little further on another.

Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore – click to enlarge

Sometimes it’s better, for perspective, to be a little distance away.

Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore – click to enlarge
Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore - click to enlarge
Dolphins And Pelicans On Shore – click to enlarge

No free fish for the Pelicans this time.