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.

September 2010

September sightings haven’t been as frequent in comparison to previous months, as the summer season draws to an end, less seasonal visitors are encountered.

Minke whales have been spotted on three occasions this month; at the beginning of the month off the east coast of Rum and towards the end of the month off Reinish Point, Harris, and Mallaig.

There have been several sightings in the Little Minch during September, mainly of common dolphins. Although, there was a report of a small pod of four bottlenose dolphins reported too.

Undoubtedly, September’s highlight was the report of two fin whales off Reinish point (Isle of Harris) on the 19th September. Fin whale sightings are very rare in the Hebrides – historically, we have only three other reported sightings; in 2009 off St. Kilda and other reports in 2007 and 2006. Sightings generally occur during the summer months, suggesting that the whales move inshore during the summer months, taking advantage of the food resources available. However, very little is known about their movements and migration patterns.

Reports of basking sharks have been received through-out September, mainly from the Firth of Clyde region. Sharks were also sighted off Lunga (Treshnish Isles), Coll and Ardmore Bay (Mull).

Harbour porpoise sightings were reported in the first and last week of September, predominantly off Skye, Mallaig, Eigg and Ardmore Point (Mull).

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