Dolphins spotted enjoying the sun off the coast of Blackpool

Dolphin sightings are very uncommon in the Irish Sea

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Blackpool's beachgoers weren't the only ones enjoying the heatwave - a group of bottlenose dolphins were caught on camera swimming just off the coast of the seaside resort.

The footage of the dolphins was caught on camera by sailor Simon Redfearn. The pod of dolphins swim happily just alongside the boat, while the famous Blackpool Tower and the Big One rollercoaster can be seen in the distance.

Katrin Lorenghel of the Sea Watch Foundation said the organisation had seen an increase in bottlenose dolphin sightings in North West England over the past few years, possibly because of the improved water quality following the Mersey Basin Clean Up campaign.

She said: “In the past few summers we’ve increasingly had reports of large dolphin groups, between 20 and 50 animals, in Liverpool Bay and off the North Wales coast, so it is no longer that unusual to spot a dolphin [in the waters off] Blackpool, although we don't frequently get reports of groups of this size.”

Dolphin sightings are more common in the South West of the UK, in Cornwall and Devon, and further north, in the Moray Firth in Scotland.

Ms Lorenghel exaplained: “We know that resident Cardigan Bay dolphins often travel to North Wales and the Isle of Man in the winter to feed but it seems they are increasingly sighted there in the summer as well now.”

“If you have a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope, you do stand a good chance of spotting some, and if not, you always have a chance of seeing a seal or harbour porpoise instead. In 2005, there was even a sighting of a minke whale off Blackpool’s South Promenade.”