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 2010

There have been plenty of basking sharks spotted through-out August.  Hotspots, once again, include the waters surrounding the Small Isles, Mull and Ardnamurchan Point with a few sightings off Tiree and Coll.

Harbour porpoises have been seen on numerous occasions with a high proportion of sightings around the Small Isles and Skye.

Similarly to previous Augusts, sightings of common dolphins were rare with six encounters reported this month; locations ranging from Raasay to Coll, Mull and Colonsay.

Bottlenose dolphins have been spotted on five occasions.  Westport, Kintyre and Ardnoe Point (near Loch Fyne) - areas in the southern limits of our study area - have all seen encounters, with a relatively large pod of up to 25 individuals in Westport.

Killer whales have been spotted on seven occasions this month which is very exciting for us as we usually receive only a handful of sightings per season.  Reports are mainly from around the Small Isles, Skye and Arisaig.  We have also received a sighting off Caillean Beach which we are trying to validate at the moment.

Minke whales were still reported throughout August with the majority of sightings off Arisaig, Skye and Eigg.  A more unusual sighting was received from the Firth of Clyde, we have very little sightings reported from this area and are keen to learn more.

The August highlight was the sighting of a humpback whale off Camas Tuath, Mull. This is the second sighting of a humpback whale this year off the west coast of Scotland.  Unfortunately we did not receive any photographs so we cannot identify the individual from the North Atlantic Humpback Catalogue.

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