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.

August 2009

Groups of bottlenose dolphins were spotted on several days in August off the coast of Mull.  This month included a visit from four dolphins into Tobermory Bay.  Despite the wet and misty weather, HWDT staff managed to get out to photograph the group. Most of the dolphins were matched to the HWDT catalogue.  Other sightings were made between Barra and Eriskay, in Canna Sound and off the Isle of Jura.

Minke whales were still being reported throughout June.  Despite the bad weather, HWDT received more sightings in August than this time last year.  Most sightings were made north of Mull, but there were a few sightings around Jura, one in the Kilbrannan sound and one 10 miles off the coast of Troon.  More unusually though, was a sighting halfway down the Sound of Mull in Aros Bay, an area where minke whales are rarely seen.

There were only five sightings of common dolphins in August, including two seen in Loch Carron.  HWDT is particularly interested in this sighting as there were two resident dolphins in Loch Carron a couple of winters ago.  The animals stayed in the loch playing around boats for the whole winter.  This is unusual as common dolphins are normally summer visitors to our coasts.  It is not yet clear whether these are the same two animals but HWDT are keen to find out more.

There was a sighting of Risso’s dolphins off the Butt of Lewis.  The dolphins were in a mixed feeding group with about eight bottlenose dolphins (probably an offshore group).  This is only the second sighting of Risso’s dolphins this year.

The definite highlight of the month was the humpback whale seen by a local boat operator, also by observers from the shore, in the Iona Sound on the 13th August.  HWDT are hoping to obtain a photo of the animal’s fluke for identification purposes, it may well be the same animal Silurian encountered west of Canna during a survey in June.

Reports of basking sharks and sunfish continued throughout August.

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