Whales and dolphins in Lyme Bay
The baking hot weather has attracted more than holidaymakers to the Westcountry's coast, with a spectacular array of marine life spotted in the last week.
According to the conservation charity MARINElife, schools of dolphins, thousands of seabirds, large pelagic fish and even whales have been seen gathering in Lyme Bay.
Dr Tom Brereton, director of the Bridport-based charity, said there had been some great sights. "The sheer variety of animals present has taken us by surprise, with so many incredible encounters. Lyme Bay offers world-class marine wildlife watching at the moment," he said.
Over the course of four full days out at sea between July 21 and 26, sightings have included a breaching thresher shark, a minke whale, more than 60 bow-riding white-beaked dolphins, and several playful common dolphin schools. There have also been numerous sightings of harbour porpoises, an ocean sunfish, large numbers of compass jellyfish and a feeding frenzy of seabirds involving more than 1,500 Manx shearwaters and 800 gannets.
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Several rarer seabirds were also seen including Europe's rarest – the Balearic shearwater.