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.

April 2008

The month of April seems to have marked the beginning of the season with a large variety of sightings and a steady increase in the number being reported. We have so far had three minke sightings in April indicating their return for the summer to feed on the rich food supply here. The first minke sighting of the year was off Ardnamurchan Point and the other was seen from Skelmorlie, briefly surfacing three times and then traveling rapidly onwards up the Firth of Clyde. Local operator Sea Life Surveys also reported seeing a minke feeding with shearwaters off Ardnamurchan.

April has also been a very busy month for bottlenose dolphin sightings with a total of eleven separate sightings reported. The majority of these sightings have been around the Sound of Iona and Erraid. Several of these have also reported juveniles within the group. Towards the end of April a similar sized group of bottlenose dolphins has been reported in the Sound of Mull, the sound of Arisaig and Calgary Bay. It is possible that this is the same group of individuals, but photographic images are required to know for sure, highlighting the importance of photo identification.

Seven Harbour porpoises have also been seen together off the Ardsheal peninsula travelling back and forth across Loch Linnhe doing a series of shorter dives followed by a longer one. Although this species is most typically seen in smaller groups, these animals may have been in a larger group because they were feeding.

In April we have also had our first sighting of killer whales, reported traveling south off the east coast of Shetland. We have since received images from this sighting and individuals have been identified as regulars to the area seen last year in the Yell Sound. They are also the only group to have been sighted both on the east and west coast of Scotland, having been photographed off St Kilda in 2006.

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