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.

May 2011

After the excitement of the amount of sightings in April, May has been a bit quieter.

Overall there have been 17 sightings this month of 7 different species.

At the beginning of the month two special sightings have been reported to us. The first sighting was 4 Risso’s Dolphins on the 4th of May off the Butt of Lewis. The second sighting of 6 pilot whales off Cape Wrath was reported a day later. These are the first sightings of these two species this field season and we are hoping to receive more sightings during the year.

Four encounters with bottlenose dolphins were reported- two of them in Loch Spelve (Isle of Mull) and another one North East of the Eye Peninsula off the Isle of Lewis. The last sighting was reported from the Insh Sound at the end of the month.  All sightings had less than 10 animals. We gratefully obtained photos from the second Loch Spelve encounter but unfortunately the quality of the photos is not good enough for a positive identification.

A pod of 12 common dolphins has been reported in Loch Gairloch towards the end of the month. Additionaly, 12 animals have been reported off Ardnamurchan at the end of the month, followed by 2 animals sighted north of Drimnin 4 days later.  Furthermore, four harbour porpoise sightings have been reported, one at the start of the month in the Sound of Jura.  Another sighting was reported during the middle of the month in Loch Laxford.  Two sightings were reported at the end of May, one for Lunga and the other one off Ballygown, Isle of Mull.

Killer whales have been seen twice.  The first sighting was reported off the Waverly on the 1st of May in the Sound of Iona, 5 animals were seen.  The second sighting was recorded at the end of the month off Carr Point, Gairloch where 4 animals were seen.  We only have photographs for the first encounter in the Sound of Iona.  However, the quality of the images did not enable us to identify individuals which would be really helpful as we can learn a lot about their range and with whom they’re associating with.

Finally, one minke whale has been reported in the Kyle of Lochalsh at the beginning of the month.  It has been seen travelling towards the Skye Bridge during the encounter.

We’ve also received a sighting of a five unidentified baleen whales off Iona.  We are currently waiting for more information to determine the species seen.

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