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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flipping amazing: Bottlenose dolphins put on a stunning aerial show as they arrive in British waters

•Dolphins delighted to be in British waters as they put on a stunning aerial display
•Numbers are on the rise with reports of 20 individuals seen in one day

By Sarah Johnson

These incredible pictures show wild bottlenose dolphins flipping and diving in the air and frolicking in the sea off the coast of Inverness in Scotland.

They look like they’re delighted to be in British waters as they nudge and compete with each other in a playful display of animal gymnastics.

And, they have got plenty to celebrate. This year, more Bottlenose dolphins have been spotted in British waters than at any other time since the mid-1990s.

Show off! Two adult Bottlenose dolphins display to each other

Twenty individuals including seven youngsters were seen in one day by conservation officers from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) at the Kessock Channel near Inverness. Usually, only six would be seen on a summer’s day in the area.

Photographer and WDCS officer , Charlie Phillips, explained why dolphins put on dramatic aerial performances.

He said: ‘The dolphins are engaging in energetic behaviour. They do this as part of socialising and it can take many forms.’

‘In these pictures we see a young dolphin that is back flipping over the top of two adults. Youngsters often do this to get attention or just sheer play.’

A young Bottlenose dolphin leaps backwards over two adults in the Kessock Channel

Sea who can go higher: Two young Bottlenose dolphins try to outjump each other

Bottlenose dolphins are one of the most northerly living members of the dolphin family and there are thought to be about 200 living in the North Sea at any one time.

Marine scientists believe population numbers are stable or perhaps on the rise.

Mr Phillips believes that the increase in numbers could be due to the explosion in fish numbers in recent weeks.

He said: ‘The earlier part of the season was poor for dolphin sightings because of a bad run of salmon.’

‘But both the salmon and mackerel numbers have increased rapidly in the last week or so.

‘This has a knock on effect with the amount of dolphins that we see.

‘If the dolphins feed well during the summer and sustain this, then this will have the females in great condition for giving birth.

'It will also mean that the dolphins will have a bigger fat reserve to carry into the leaner, winter months.’

Two young Bottlenose dolphins get up close and personal as they frolic off the coast of Scotland



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