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.

November 2008

The beginning of November witnessed a rare winter sighting, a group of minke whales off Tolsta beach, Isle of Lewis. The group, thought to contain four adults and a juvenile, were sighted one mile offshore. The group seemed to be travelling very slowly, with four individuals taking the lead and one whale dragging behind.

Sightings of our Hebridean bottlenose dolphins were reported in the latter part of November. On the 21st eight individuals, seven adults and a juvenile, followed the Loch Nevis ferry into Mallaig harbour. The group were leaping clear of the water and followed the ferry right into the inner harbour. Another report was submitted on the 30th, this time in the southern Hebrides just south east of the Isle of Gigha. The group contained at least 10 individuals and, rather excitingly, at least two or three calves. For forty minutes the dolphins played around the boat Thalassa before moving on.

Winter months usually see a rise in stranding reports and in November a report was received of a stranded porpoise near Findhorn on the Moray Coast. The porpoise was almost unidentifiable, with much of its body missing. The death of the animal could be attributed to predation or infanticide, a phenomenon reported in the bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth.

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