A BANK holiday day out took an unexpected turn when a friendly dolphin made an appearance in Poole Bay.

It attracted a great deal of attention as it followed a City Cruises pleasure boat from Swanage pier all the way back to Poole Quay on Monday.

Among those on board was Bournemouth resident Kathryn Woods who managed to take several close-up pictures.

She told the Daily Echo: “We were on a family day out and there were 10 of us in all. The children were very excited to see the dolphin.”

She said several smaller boats approached in an attempt to get close to the dolphin.

“People were trying to get pictures because it’s not something you see very often. We first saw it at about 2pm.

“It seemed to be very tame because it came very close to the boat and didn’t seem to mind when it was surrounded by other boats.”

Dolphins and other marine mammals are regularly spotted in the Poole Bay area but rarely get as close to the boats as the dolphin did on this occasion.

During the Easter break around 15 dolphins were seen in the area of Durdle Door.

They jumped and swam underneath jet skis as they travelled towards Swanage, delighting all who saw them including a 12-year-old girl who was a passenger on her dad’s jet ski.

Seahorses have been highlighted alongside a number of marine species as making a resurgence.

Little terns and crayfish are also among the creatures making a comeback with the help of conservation action around the UK’s coasts, wildlife trusts have found.

At Studland and in Poole Harbour, Dorset Wildlife Trust has been working with local fishermen, who have both Marine Stewardship Council and Responsible Fishing Scheme accreditation for sustainable management of the sea, which is helping the seahorses.

However, The Seahorse Trust has recorded just one dead Spiny Seahorse on Studland Beach this year.

Seahorse Trust Director Neil Garrick-Maidment says drastic action is still needed to reverse damage to their sea grass habitat at Studland Bay.

In February this year wildlife experts voiced concerns after a number of marine mammals were washed up along the Dorset coast.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) said it had received reports of a dead seal at Southbourne beach early in the month. A dead porpoise was found on the same beach.

A dead common dolphin was also reported to the charity after being found washed up at Seatown, near Bridport.

Although the cause of the animals’ deaths is unknown, the charity says it is not ruling out a possible link with the oil well drilling which was taking place at the time in Poole Bay.

At the time, Bournemouth council said the dead porpoise’s death was “unfortunate” but had “nothing to do with the arrival of the oil rig”.

Chris Saunders, head of seafront operations, added: “The cause of death is unknown but having these animals washed ashore is quite a common occurrence and certainly nothing out of the norm.”