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.

September 2008

During the month of September HWDT has received sighting reports of several different cetacean species throughout the Hebrides. On the 3rd September a sperm whale was sighted south of Canna, which is the second sperm whale sighting this year. Those that reported the sighting were initially looking at some basking sharks before they noticed the animal nearby. This individual was seen logging at the water surface before diving and was not sighted again.

Two sunfish have also been sighted in September the first of which near the Small Isles and the second, a large adult, was sighted off Ardnamurchan point. Another unusual sighting this month was a suspected Beluga sighting on the 19th September, which is the second reported sighting this season. The animal was spotted west of the Monarch Isles from a helicopter heading out to St Kilda. As it was only briefly sighted from the helicopter no photographs were taken in order to allow species confirmation.

Another sighting in September which caused much media interest was that of two northern bottlenose whales in Loch Scridain, Mull. These individuals stayed in the loch for almost a week and although they are typically found in much deeper water appeared healthy and active during their stay. The animals have now safely moved on but we have been notified of three further northern bottlenose whale sightings around Mull in September. On the 22nd September a single animal was sighted by our Biodiversity Officer onboard Silurian as they were sailing through the sound of Mull during one of our many monitoring trips. On the same day two more northern bottlenose whales were sighted at Caliach point, north east Mull. The following day a sighting of a single animal was reported at Loch Na Keal, Mull. Since these reports, there have been no further sightings and so it is presumed these animals have also returned to deeper waters.

Sadly another instance where a cetacean was in shallow water this month did not end so happily when a pilot whale stranded live at Berenay. This animal was refloated by the local coastguard, however it re-stranded dead the next day.

Sightings of our resident species have continued this month while sightings of our summer visitors have again declined indicating they are moving on for the winter. Killer whale sightings in September have also continued with seven separate sightings.

Top of page ^