Dolphins spotted 'surfing' on River Dee tidal wave

From her position high up above the River Dee, Vicki Roskams could scarcely believe her eyes. As a large tidal bore wave moved down the river, two dolphins were seen leaping over it and, at times, catching a ride.

Footage emerged of a dolphin a little further along the river at Connah’s Quay, Deeside. Vicki believes this was the female she saw "surfing" past Shotton with her youngster a day earlier .

At the time, Vicki was perched on scaffolding that currently shrouds the town’s Grade 2-listed Clock Tower at the former John Summers Steelworks. “I heard a shriek, that’s what alerted me,” she said.

“Seven people were sat on a bench on the river walkway. A child was screaming and when I looked, I could see why - in the river were the dolphins, a mother and baby.

“Where I was, I had a grandstand view. The dolphins were jumping through the bore wave, almost as if they were washing themselves. At other times they seemed to be surfing the wave.

“It looked as if they were just being playful. When the bore comes through, the wave can reach high up the banks, so it is quite deep.”

Vicki, director of the Enbarr Foundation, set up to restore the Clock Tower, believes she saw the same pair in the Dee late last year. “That time the baby was much smaller,” she said. “There’s a lot of fish in the river at the moment and the mum must be bringing her youngster here to feed.”

Capturing video evidence of at least one Dee dolphin this week was Gareth Bilton. He was taking his dog, an Airedale Terrier called King Arthur, for a walk along Dock Road, Connah’s Quay, at 5pm on Tuesday when he heard a faint splash in the water.

Taking a look, he saw something quickly disappearing into the water. “I stopped to watch, unsure of what it was. I felt so in awe when I saw it re-emerge and realised it was a dolphin or a porpoise!

“The river was high and the creature was moving swiftly in the direction of the estuary. King Arthur and I stood and watched it disappear out of sight. I was having a difficult and challenging day and I felt like it was a sign; it felt like such a blessing.”

Vicki reported Monday’s Shotton sighting to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) staff who happened to be on site at the time. NRW was approached for a comment.

With King Arthur, Gareth stayed glued to the spot for 30 minutes after the dolphin he saw had disappeared back out towards the Dee estuary. “I felt such gratitude for being gifted the opportunity to observe it for those brief moments,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to see a dolphin or porpoise in real life but never imagined that I would have that experience right here in Connah’s Quay!”