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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Watch: Humpback whales cause a splash in west Cork

A group of humpback whales have been spotted "feeding and socialising" in waters off the coast of west Cork.

Six of the mammals were captured on camera by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group from Reen Pier last month.

Drone footage was taken by the IWDG on April 20 when it was carrying out fieldwork for the group's WhaleTrack Ireland project.

Initial efforts to spot the "iconic giants" were hampered by hazy conditions over the sea, but the group were able to find the six whales "feeding and socialising in offshore waters".

Members of the IWDG had embarked on the excursion to collect photo-identification data and thanks to the footage and aerial images, researchers will be able to estimate the length and body condition of the animals.

The WhaleTrack Ireland project aims to learn what large baleen whales are doing in Irish waters

Sponsored by Ryanair, the project invites "citizen scientists", or members of the public, to collaborate with professional scientists in gathering data on the natural world.

It will first focus on humpback whales, but the IWDG says it hopes to expand it in the future to fin and blue whales.

The first humpback whale of the season was also spotted from Reen Pier.

The sighting, recorded during a Cork Whale Watch trip on April 16, was the first success of the WhaleTrack Ireland project.