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.

June 2008

The month of June has seen the season well underway with sightings being reported from the Kintrye peninsula up to Skye. In particular, sightings of our seasonal visitors have increased this month marking their return for the summer to feed. Basking sharks have been spotted off the coast of Rhum, Harris, Staffa, Iona and at Calgary bay, Mull. Minke whale sightings have also increased with sightings from the Loch Nevis and Kilchoan ferry being frequently reported. In addition, groups of common dolphins containing over 30 individuals have been sighted bow riding and feeding together along with gannets near Loch Gairloch and at the Point of Sleat, Skye.

Some of our more resident cetaceans, such as bottlenose dolphins, have also continued to be sighted in June with eighteen separate sightings reported this month. Typical hotspots for this species once again have been around Iona and Mull with a group of five bottlenose dolphins visiting Tobermory bay one evening where they gave spectators an acrobatic display.

In June, killer whale sightings have continued and a single adult male killer whale was sighted by a group of local fishermen at Loch Gairloch on the 1st June. A few days later a pod of five killer whales were sighted by a local boat operator between Staffa and Iona. Volunteers taking part in one of HWDT’s research trips onboard Silurian were also some of the lucky few who encountered killer whales during one of their many surveys. Photographs taken during this encounter have allowed the individuals to be identified as Aquarius, Comet, Lulu and Puffin.

Additional exciting killer whale news this month is that the well known adult male John Coe which has been sighted frequently in Hebridean waters for several years was photographed off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales on the 1st June. This is the furthest south he has ever been recorded and it was unknown until now that any of the Hebridean killer whales travelled this far south.

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