Basking shark
Basking shark

Monthly Sightings Reports

HWDT’s Community Sightings Network encourages residents, local wildlife operators and visitors to the area to report their sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises to HWDT. This information is important because it contributes to our understanding of where and when particular species occur. Report your sighting HERE.

Each month HWDT publishes a summary report of the sightings recorded via our Community Sightings Network. In summer we receive the greatest number of sightings while winter is a quiet time. This is partly due to the number of species present but also reflects the sea state and number of people on the water watching for whales, dolphins and porpoises. In winter, fewer people are watching and the sea state more frequently makes sightings difficult, or even impossible. Also non-resident species have migrated for the winter. At this time of year HWDT receives more strandings reports than at other time as storms can wash animals ashore. These seasonal variations will be reflected in our reports.

Select the monthly report you wish to view from the panel on the left of this page.

March 2008

Until very recently, reports of strandings have been out-numbering live sightings. However, as we push through into the spring season, the sightings reports are at last starting to come in. A small group of bottlenose dolphins were reported a number of times around the coast of Mull in February and sightings even included a spectacular encounter in Tobermory Bay where HWDT staff were able to go out and photograph the animals.

Small groups of bottlenose continued to be sighted in the area throughout March, much to the delight of local boat operators, many of whom were on their first trips of the season - a good omen for the rest of the season perhaps?

Whilst we are yet to receive the first minke sighting of the season, the first sighting of common dolphins was made during the first week of April. A group of around 30 commons were seen feeding vigorously off the Cairns of Coll by local boat operators.

A more unusual sighting of a pair of common dolphins reported to be residing in Loch Carron last autumn has turned out to be even more unusual since HWDT recently discovered that the pair are still in the loch seven months later! Common dolphins are usually seen in the Hebrides during the spring and summer months as they move into the area to feed on seasonally abundant fish, such as sandeels, herring and mackerel.

A local fisherman has been keeping us updated on sightings of this pair of dolphins who happily play around his fishing boat on his way in and out of the loch. The animals were confirmed as common dolphins from photographs he sent into HWDT and both individuals appear to be in good condition. They do however, according to the fishermen, appear to be reluctant to go beyond a certain point in the Loch, and have very much stayed in the same area all winter. Once the surveys season on Silurian gets underway, HWDT intend to make a trip up to Loch Carron to monitor the behaviour of these dolphins.

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