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.

April 2009

April is always an interesting month for sightings. The sea is coming alive again after a long cold winter, the waters are warming and productivity is increasing. April is also the month that the first minke whales begin to arrive around the coasts after a winter spent in warmer waters further South. This year the first minke whales were sighted on the 17th April. The report was of a group of five whales feeding off Iona – a decent sized group and a promising start to the season. Sightings of minke whales have been regularly reported to us since then through our website and local whale watch boats are also seeing whales turning up to feed in their usual spots.

There have also been three sightings of killer whales in April including one encounter off the Isle of Muck from our own research vessel, Silurian. Both whales seen were photographed and one of the individuals was identified as John Coe, who is one of our sponsored killer whales, and the other was one of our catalogued females. The other two killer whale sightings were reported further north off the Isles of Skye and Lewis within days of each other.

Other reports this month include several sightings of bottlenose dolphins and an early sighting of three common dolphins off Mallaig.

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