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Sea Watch Foundation fly high in Cardigan Bay

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IN RECENT YEARS, drones, unmanned, remote controlled aircrafts, have gained a lot of attention in the media due to their ability to capture stunning aerial wildlife footage which gives viewers a bird’s eye perspective.

Besides capturing beautiful images, however, drones have also become increasingly popular in the scientific community, allowing researchers to collect valuable data on the species that they are studying in a variety of different ways. Researchers at the Sea Watch Foundation (SWF), a nationwide research charity studying whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK, have recently started to utilize drones to collect additional data and dive deeper into the behaviour of the local semi resident population of bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay.

While the main target species of SWF’s Cardigan Bay Monitoring project is the bottlenose dolphin, on their latest survey, the New Quay based team had a surprise encounter with some unexpected visitors, a large pod of over 40 common dolphins and could not resist trying to get some aerial footage of this fantastic encounter.

Despite their name, common dolphins are not seen as frequently as the local bottlenose dolphins being more at home in the offshore expanse of the Celtic Deep than the shallow coastal regions of Cardigan Bay, so spotting them so close to the shores of Cardigan Island came as a complete surprise.

Aerial view of some of the common dolphins encountered by the team. Screenshot from drone footage taken by David Ord/Sea Watch Foundation

“It was an amazing experience seeing them swim alongside and interacting right in front of us,” said SWF’s research assistant, Claudia Afeltra,”Some of them even brought their newborn calves within metres of our bow. It was truly incredible.”

At 2m, common dolphins are about half the size of the resident bottlenose dolphins and have a distinctive tan and grey hourglass colouration. They are very gregarious and in deeper, offshore waters can often be seen in groups numbering in their hundreds.

“Reviewing the encounter on the drone footage was really interesting,” said SWF’s Monitoring Officer, Katrin Lohrengel,”Particularly with a group this big, it can be challenging to take detailed behavioural data but the drone lets us take another look at how they are interacting as a group, we have some lovely footage particularly of mums and calves.”

The team hope to collect additional footage of both common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins to shed more light on social interactions and group dynamics in the future.

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Free parking in Ceredigion

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Car parking will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays before Christmas this year.

Parking charges at council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on December 7, 14 and 21 2019.

Rhodri Llwyd is Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer responsible for Highways and Environmental Services. He said. “Small businesses will be competing against online businesses for trade this Christmas. We want to do what we can to support Ceredigion businesses at this important time of year. We hope this step encourages more of us to shop locally this Christmas and enjoy what fantastic Ceredigion businesses have to offer.”

This decision contributes towards one of the council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.

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Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine

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PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.

The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.

Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”

The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.

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It’s not too late: Ceredigion residents still have time to register to vote

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“CEREDIGION residents still have time to register to vote in the General Election on 12 December,” said the council’s Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Eifion Evans.

Residents still have time to register to vote and to arrange postal or proxy votes if they want to do so. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on November 26. The deadline to register for a postal vote is 5pm on November 26 and the deadline to register for a proxy vote is 5pm on December 4.

Mr Evans continued, “Some residents may want to register for postal vote or a proxy vote. This could help people avoid possible wintry conditions of a December election, or young people who have moved out of county to study but still want to vote in Ceredigion.”

Residents can register to vote by using this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling the council’s Electoral Services Team on 01545 570 881.

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