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.

June 2009

There have been plenty of sightings of our residents and regulars this June, perhaps boosted by the spectacular spell of settled weather we have had in the Hebrides.

Minke whales and harbour porpoises have been reported throughout June all over the Hebrides with regular sightings around the Gairloch area, Mull and the Small Isles.

Common dolphins have been in no short supply with numerous sightings up and down the west coast. Sightings have mainly been of groups between 20 and 50 individuals with the exception of a small group of 6-8 dolphins who appear to have taken up temporary residence in Oban Bay. It is unusual for this species to turn up in a busy, inshore area like Oban Bay, and even more unusual for them to still be there several weeks later. The dolphins appear to be healthy and behaving normally - they arrived of their own accord and will move out of the area when they are ready to do so. We advise boats in the area to stay far enough away to avoid any risk of injuring the animals – especially as the group includes calves.

The Hebridean bottlenose dolphin group were seen a few times in June. Apart from one sighting of 9 individuals west of Loch Gairloch at the start of the month, the group appeared to be in southern Argyll (Arran, Kintrye) and were possibly seen altogether in the Kilbrannan Sound. Then reports indicate that they moved northwards up the coast towards Mull in the middle of the month.

There was one sighting each of Risso’s dolphins (Gairloch area), white-beaked dolphins (east of St. Kilda), three orca (NW Colonsay) and two Fin whales (west of St. Kilda).

June was nicely started and finished with two sightings of a humpback whale. The first whale was seen on the first day of June a mile west of Gairloch. The second whale, possibly the same individual, was seen from HWDT’s research vessel, Silurian, at the end of the month. The animal was spotted between South Uist and Coll. Images of the tail fluke were sent to various organisations to see if a match can be found in any of the existing humpback catalogues.

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