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.

March 2010

The first week of March was a spectacular week for dolphin sightings with large groups reported off the Ayrshire coast. The first group, seen off Maiden’s Harbour, were confirmed to be bottlenose dolphins. We can be almost certain that they were not the Hebridean bottlenose dolphins, as there are only about 30 animals belonging to this group! However, the observer did report a group of Risso’s dolphins swimming loosely with the dolphins which, together with the large group size, may indicate that the dolphins were offshore bottlenose dolphins rather than coastal ones. Offshore bottlenose dolphins have a completely different ecology to coastal dolphins and live in much larger groups. They are also bigger in size and more robust than the coastal bottlenose dolphin. A second, similar-sized group were then reported almost a week later some 50km down the coast off Port Logan. Although we had no photographs from the second sighting to identify the dolphins, the description and group size match the group seen the week before and it is therefore most likely to be the same group slowly moving down the coast.

Closer to home, there were just two other reports from March, both of bottlenose dolphins. The first was of a small group of five playing around Port Askaig Harbour, Islay over a period of several days at the beginning of the month. The second was a group of three animals seen later in the month off Hynish, Tiree.

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