dolphin mega-pod
Dolphin mega-pod filmed off California coastDave Anderson

A drone has filmed a huge dolphin stampede off the coast of California, with thousands of animals forming a mega-pod.

Captain Dave Anderson from Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari sent the drone to capture the stampede and edited the footage into a five minute YouTube film.

The film also shows three gray whales migrating down the coast and a newborn humpback whale snuggling alongside its mother in Maui.

Anderson made the film off a small inflatable boat by launching a drone by hand.

Anderson said: "This is the most beautiful and compelling five minute video I have ever put together. I learned so much about these whales and dolphins from this drone footage that it feels like I have entered a new dimension!

"I have not been this excited about a new technology since we built our underwater viewing pods on our whale watching boat. Drones are going to change how we view the animal world. Wow!"

Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins in the world, with over 400,000 common dolphins. Mega-pods made up of up to 10,000 creatures are often seen stretching for miles.

Last year, a mega-pod thought to contain up to 100,000 dolphins was seen off San Diego's Pacific coast.

During one endeavour to film marine wildlife, Anderson said he lost one drone after it hit a radio antenna of the boat he was filming from, costing him around £1,000.

"My wife says no more drones if I lose this one," he said. "But she said that before I lost the other one. Now that she's seen what it can do, I think she's just as hooked as I am."