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How many whales and dolphins can you count in one day? It's All Ireland census time

Grab the binoculars, a raincoat (or depending on what our unpredictable weather does, some sunscreen) and head for the coast.

- Updated 1.35pm 23/08/2015

Pregnant Beluga A beluga whale. Source: Associated Press

THE IRISH WHALE and Dolphin Group’s All Ireland Whale Watch day is happening today.

The group is appealing to whale enthusiasts, general wildlife aficionados (and whoever else fancies coming along) to turn out at their nearest viewing spot between 2 and 5pm this afternoon.

It’s been a busy summer for whale spotters.

In the last few weeks, for instance, an Arctic beluga whale was photographed in Irish waters for the first time ever.

Spotted off the Antrim coast on 30 July, the sighting has been described as “extremely unusual” by experts.

The last previous sighting was around Cork Harbour in 1988. There was also a sighting in Mayo in 1948.

bel Source: Gordon Watson/IWDG

While your chances of seeing another beluga are (let’s face it) pretty slim, according to the IWDG:

“The arrival of minke whales and a host of other whale and dolphin species along Irish coast seems like a good omen for All Island whale watch day.”

File Pics Fungie Celebrates 30 years in Dingle. Fungie in action off the Dingle Peninsula. Source: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

The purpose of the event is twofold: it’s aimed at raising awareness of the 24 species of cetaceans (porpoises, dolphins and whales) recorded in Irish waters, by giving members of the public a chance to observe them in their natural surroundings.

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It also provides researchers with a unique one-off snapshot of whale and dolphin activity around the entire Irish coast.

The viewings are free, and according to the organisation:

All watches are land-based and will be led by experienced IWDG personnel, who will show you how to observe and identify some of the more commonly observed cetacean species seen in Irish waters.

You’re advised to bring binoculars and to dress appropriately for the Irish weather.

map Source: IWDG

First published 22/08/2015

Full location details and contact numbers for the IWDG local organisers available here

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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