Dolphin and Porpoise

Dolphin and Porpoise

Have you spotted any Dolphin and Porpoise swimming in the waters off the Fylde Coast?

Dolphin and Porpoise are Back!

The weather’s finally warmed up for summer and of course the water is getting warmer. This week (late June 2019) five dolphin have been spotted, swimming off the coast of Blackpool.

Many thanks to Visit Fylde Coast reader Richard Williams for sending in these two photos of them swimming out in Morecambe Bay. It must be amazing to see them in real life!

Dolphin swimming in Morecambe Bay. Photo: Richard Williams
Dolphin swimming in Morecambe Bay. Photo: Richard Williams

Dolphin swimming in Morecambe Bay. Photo: Richard Williams

They’re quite a size. Each year at about this time the pod of bottlenose dolphins come to visit the Fylde Coast from Wales. They are usually around for about a month before going back.

It’s the dolphins which are much more likely to be seen jumping out of the water, rather than the porpoise.

What do they eat?

Bottlenose dolphins feed on a variety of things. Regular beach goers will know that there’s usually a bloom of jellyfish with the warm weather, so they’ll be feasting on those.

Did you know? That the large dolphin barge the smaller porpoise away from the feeding grounds? They bang into them with their long pointed noses, often causing fatal internal injuries in the porpoise. That could account for increasing numbers of dead porpoise washed up on beaches.

Dolphin and Porpoise in 2018

Here at Visit Fylde Coast we’ve seen lots of dead porpoise on the beach. In fact, you usually smell them long before you see them! We’ve only once seen them swimming though.

In the summer of 2018, there were a number of videos circulating on Facebook of dolphins swimming in the waters off the Fylde Coast. The best ones have been caught by people in fishing boats just off shore.

A neighbour phoned to give us the nod, and sure enough, by now quite far out to sea, we saw the distinctive arc of its body as it dipped through the waves. The thing that pointed out its position was the small flock of seagulls swimming above it. They’d obviously taken it as a tip off for fish!

Andy Sargent probably caught the best clip of them swimming off Fleetwood, while he was out fishing in early July. Just watch this amazing clip that he shared in the Visit Fylde Coast Group with us –

Dolphin and porpoise swimming off Fleetwood – Andy Sargent

Dolphin and Porpoise in 2016

On Saturday 18 June we had two separate messages from regular Visit Fylde Coast readers who had watched Dolphins swimming at sea, from shore at Rossall Beach in Cleveleys.

On Facebook Ted Bottomly said “Blue sky and a school of dolphins performing just off shore – couldn’t get any better! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera”

We also received an email from Fiona Poole who said: “Wow! It was such a lovely morning on Rossall Prom and the sea was a beautiful shade of blue. Alun decided to take the dogs down to the field by the school for a quick run as the sea was in, so I waited for him in the car looking out at the wonderful view when I saw the most magnificent sight…..Dolphins.

“They were just off shore  by the fishing boats, quite a few of them. I couldn’t wait for Alun to return so he didn’t miss the spectacle. On his return we sat and watched them sitting on a bench for a good half an hour, it was lovely to see and I would guess a good sign for the waters around the Fylde Coast? Sorry no pics. We had a lovely day finished off with some delicious fish and chips from Cleveleys!” (Hope it wasn’t dolphin & chips, ha ha!)

Your dolphin photos and clips

Karl Hobbs took this clip of dolphin swimming between two boats on 19 June 2016 and posted it on Fleetwood’s Past and Present. Because that page is a group you’ll have to be a member or ask to join it to view this clip:

Karl Hobbs dolphin video June 2016

South Shore at Blackpool is a notoriously good spot for Dolphin watching. This clip was filmed at South Shore by Sam250713 in early June 2016.

Dolphin and porpoise at South Shore

Unfortunately a dead dolphin was also found washed up at Knott End in 2016. A happier tale is the pod of 30 or so of them which were filmed the year before by a fisherman.

Where do Dolphins come from?

Liverpool Bay is ideal for Dolphins because a large number of rivers run into it which already hold salmon, and apparently even the Mersey has a small salmon run.

Did you know? that we have the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world here in UK waters. They have to be chunky to survive in our cold seas.

There are also harbour porpoises to be found offshore too. They move incredibly quickly and you need to be sharp eyed to spot them swimming at sea. They’re a lot shyer than their more outgoing, sociable and gregarious relatives.

Dead Bodies

It’s more likely that you’ll see a porpoise when it’s dead and washed up on the beach. We found this dead one on the rock ramp to the beach at Cleveleys. There was no evidence of why it had died. Apparently there were particularly large numbers of fatalities in 2011.

Dead porpoise washed up at Cleveleys
Dead porpoise washed up at Cleveleys

Report Strandings/Dead Dolphin and Porpoise

If any porpoises or dolphins or similar are found on the beach you should report your findings to the Natural History Museum.

The Natural History Museum started recording strandings of whales, dolphins and porpoise (or cetaceans as they are collectively known) in 1913. Their aim was to try to discover more about the lives, and deaths, of these fascinating creatures.

The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme has since expanded to include basking sharks and marine turtles.

Your help is invaluable in this project, please report any strandings/dead bodies which you find.

How to report a dead dolphin or porpoise:

  1. Take a photograph. This is invaluable for species identification and assessing the level of decomposition (which affects whether a post-mortem examination is carried out).
  2. Estimate the animal’s size in metres or feet.
  3. Note the exact location and date.
  4. Send these details and your photos to or call 0800 6520 333.

Seals on the Fylde Coast

If you follow Visit Fylde Coast online and on social media, you’ll know that we often get seals off the coastline, and you’ll often see them swimming and very occasionally on the beach.

Find out more about seals at Cleveleys

Clean Seas

Increasing sightings of these marine mammals are proof positive of the improvement in bathing waters and the cleanliness of the sea.

In 2016 Blackpool South won the very first Blue Flag for the resort, along with marked improvements in water quality elsewhere along the coastline.

Cleaner sea and beach on the Fylde Coast, now we often see dolphin and porpoise
Cleaner seas and beaches on the Fylde Coast, now we often see dolphin and porpoise

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Fylde Coast website for more of the latest updates.

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One Comment
  1. Avatar

    Hi, Tonight around 9 pm (7th July) we witnessed at least 7 dolphins/ porpoise swimming and playing in the sea close to Anchorshome Park new sea defences. They traveled up the coast. But seemed to be in 2 groups.
    Before I was aware of this report process I saw a dead porpoise on the beach at Formby on 21 June.

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