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.

October 2008

Over the last couple of months the majority of bottlenose dolphin sightings have been reported from around Skye, Loch Gairloch and the Sound of Barra. However now into the month of October, the dolphins seem to have returned south and there have been several sightings around Mull in recent weeks. On 8th October four bottlenose dolphins were sighted in the Sound of Mull near Salen, heading north. The animals were very active leaping clear of the water and were sighted by a local resident on their way to work. The next day there were a further two bottlenose dolphins sightings, the first of which at Craignure, Mull, was of a group of dolphins heading south east towards Oban. A couple of hours later two bottlenose dolphins were reported at Kilchoan Bay. On the 18th October five bottlenose dolphins came right into Tobermory Bay, just a short distance from the HWDT offices. These animals stayed in the bay for several hours allowing photographs to be taken. Initial analysis shows members of this group were last sighted on the 8th August up at Kyle Akin, Skye. The final bottlenose dolphin sighting of the month was on the 21st October again at Salen and was of four animals having a leisurely swim close to shore.

Another dolphin sighting this month was that of a single common dolphin at Loch Harport, Skye. This individual was first sighted on the 12th October and was seen at the very head of the loch breaching and leaping from the water. What was probably the same animal was sighted in the same location two days later. Common dolphins are usually seen in large social groups over the summer months, so for a single animal to be sighted on its own at this time of year is unusual.

Two more unusual sightings this month were that of a northern bottlenose whale in Loch Eil near Fort William and a sei whale north of Loch Gairloch. The northern bottlenose whale stayed in the loch for several weeks but sadly was found dead on the 18th October. A necropsy was carried out but initial results show no obvious cause of death. The other rare sighting this month was that of a sei whale, sighted west of Melvaig. This individual was thought to be around 40ft long and was seen lunge feeding alongside some diving gannets.

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