In September 2019 a baby bottlenose dolphin was born in Gansey Bay on the south east coast of the Isle of Man. Ever since the Manx community has been blessed with wonderful, frequent sightings of the mother and juvenile bottlenose dolphin. As a result they very quickly captured the hearts of those lucky enough to spot them with the mother being named Moonlight and the calf named Starlight. They have very much become the islands own Irish Sea based celebrities having provided the island’s residents with some much needed joy and hope throughout the Covid-19 challenges.
Why are Moonlight and Starlight so special and different to normal dolphin sightings? Well, this is the first time the Isle of Man has a known recorded case of a bottlenose mother and juvenile who can be considered ‘temporarily resident’ to the Manx coast. Their resident status means they are frequently spotted around the islands coastline and they are usually very close in to the shoreline which further elevates their stardom. Hundreds of people have been captivated by their story and their strong mother calf bond. The dolphins have particularly excited the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch society as they represent a rare opportunity to document a new-born dolphin as he or she grows up and learns how to be a confident and an efficient hunter.
The celebrity pair are still very much resident in Manx waters and seem to be thriving. As we move in to the warmer summer months sightings of the pair are expected to increase once again as people spend more time outdoors. Their preferred area of the island is the stretch of coast from Peel to Ramsey where the sea depths are generally shallow and sandy. Starlight is now fast approaching 2 years of age and the pair are still closely associating with one another. Amazingly to Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch’s knowledge, they are one of the only solitary mother and calf bottlenose being studied anywhere in the world. To date they have not been seen associating with any other dolphins as yet, and are actively avoiding the visiting bottlenose pods who come over during the winter months from Cardigan Bay off the coast of Wales. How long they will remain in Manx waters is impossible to predict so everyone is encouraged to get out and make the most of these beautiful dolphins.
Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch are still compiling all sightings, photographs and video, as they continue to document the pair’s story. To find out more about Moonlight and Starlight’s incredible story please visit their own website https://mwdwresidentbottlenose.weebly.com/ and to learn more about the outstanding work of Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch please visit https://www.mwdw.net/