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.

August 2008

Killer whale sightings have continued in August, with a total of four separate sightings. The first of these was of two individuals sighted between Staffa and Iona on the 2nd August. The animals present during this encounter are thought to have been the well known John Coe and a female/juvenile, however as no photographs were taken this cannot be confirmed. Another killer whale sighting on the 27th August is also thought to have been John Coe with a female/juvenile. These killer whales were encountered at the Cairns of Coll by Sea Life Surveys as they headed towards Rhum. HWDT is currently awaiting photographs of this encounter in order to confirm which individuals were present.

The third killer whale sighting of August was at Skerryvore lighthouse near Tiree. Two females were sighted heading south by Skipinnish Sea Tours and HWDT are also awaiting photographs taken by the passengers onboard, in order to identify the individuals. The final killer whale sighting of August was of five killer whales, two of which were males and three females off Portskerra, Caithness. Unfortunately no photographs were taken during this sighting either, however one of the males is suspected to have been floppy fin due to his very distinctive dorsal fin and the fact he has been seen in a group of this composition during previous weeks leading up to this sighting. If this is the case, this would be the furthest north east any of the Hebridean killer whales have ever been recorded, however as we have no photographic evidence this cannot be confirmed.

The fin whale sighted in July was also re-sighted on the 5th August, again feeding at Rona bank. As well as this interesting visitor we have also had sightings of resident species in August such as bottlenose dolphin. Most of the reported bottlenose dolphin sightings this month have not been around Mull as usual but further north. For example on the 11th August around 18-20 bottlenose dolphins were sighted in Loch Gairloch. While on the 14th August 15 bottlenose dolphins were sighted by Summer Queen Cruises at the mouth of Loch Broom, near Ullapool and on the 22nd August eight bottlenose dolphins were sighted in Broadford bay, Skye.

We have also had sightings of Common dolphin during August with six common dolphins bow riding alongside a yacht off Canna on the 5th August. Twenty five common dolphins were also sighted by a kayaking group at Horse Island, and a further eleven common dolphins were seen bow riding between Staffa and the Treshnish Isles.

Sightings of our seasonal visitors such as basking sharks and minke whales have continued in August with hotspots for minkes whales being off Ardnamurchan point, Mallaig and the Gulf of Corryvreckan. While hot spots for basking sharks have been around Rhum, Geometra and the Treshnish Isles. Although sightings of these summer visitors have continued during August there has been a steady decrease in the number of sightings reported, perhaps indicating they are beginning to move to other waters for winter.

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