THE sight of a dolphin happily playing with the buoys at Barlogue Creek near Lough Hyne Skibbereen brought a smile to many faces this week.
The dolphin was ‘snapped’ by former Southern Star editor Con Downing, a local resident.
Terri Kearney of the Skibbereen Heritage Centre and Lough Hyne Visitor Centre said that dolphins in Barlogue are not that unusual, however.
‘The bay there provides both shelter and good feeding and the outgoing tide would bring all sorts of fish out of the Lough,’ she pointed out.
‘Seals are often there waiting for the rapids’ takeaway bounty, so an intelligent animal like a dolphin would quickly work that out too.’
She added that the only recorded occasion that dolphins were seen inside nearby Lough Hyne was in November 2011 when a young dolphin (affectionately named ‘Chris’) was brought into the lake during a storm by its mother.
‘She left him there alone and unfortunately he died. The post-mortem showed, however, that it was not the abandonment that killed him, as he had a pre-existing lung problem, so perhaps his mammy knew that,’ explained Terri.
‘The reason they were able to get into the Lough that time through the rapids is that the kelp there had been reduced, due to a mussel takeover, so the animals could echo-locate their way in. Once the kelp returned (which it now has), it’s highly unlikely a dolphin could ‘see/hear’ its way into the Lough itself.’