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.

June 2011

June came into full swing with over 100 sightings! This update includes also sightings kindly forwarded by the Sea Watch Foundation (SWF).

The month started with a sighting of seven Atlantic-white sided dolphins off the coast of Canna.

21 Bottlenose dolphin sightings have been reported for June. They have covered a wide area from Machrihanish in the South to the Isle of Raasay in the North. Three encounters stand out as the number of animals seen in those encounters is quite big. The first one is at Machrihanish Bay on the 10th of June with 10 animals present. The second and third are only one day apart from each other. The first one of these is on the 19th off Barra with 20 animals, the second one between Duart Castle, Isle of Mull and Kerrera (near Oban) with 40 animals recorded. Three of the 21 sightings have been reported to the Sea Watch Foundation.

Basking shark sightings have finally gone up this month as well. After rare sightings of these animals in previous months they now have been reported on 10 occasions. Six reports alone came from the Isle of Coll. Other areas include Canna, Hyskeir, Vatersay Bay and Barra.

Common dolphin sightings have been reported to HWDT on 28 occasions this month. A further 32 sightings have been reported to the Sea Watch Foundation which gives a total of 60 common dolphin sightings for June alone. 10 of sightings have 20+ animals recorded and three of those have over 100 animals recorded for one encounter. On the 11th of June 50 animals were recorded off Tarbert, a day later 250 animals were reported off Gairloch. On the 13th 125 animals were recorded off Coll. Gairloch was again hot spot for seeing animals on the 16th and 18th of June with 40 and 20 animals respectively. Finally, 150 animals have been reported off the Isle of Coll on the 20th. Other areas with sightings include the Small Isles, Skye and Mallaig. Additionally 27 of the 32 SWF sightings have records of 20+ animals in one encounter, for 9 of these between 100 and 250 animals have been reported. One sighting on the 17th in the North Minch recorded 500 animals in one encounter.

The number of sightings of harbour porpoises is second to the number of common dolphin sightings this month with 40 sightings in total (nine have been reported from SWF). Harbour porpoise have been reported all around the Hebrides.

Two killer whale sightings have been reported from Bearreraig Bay, near Portree. Both sightings were of a solitary animal within a space of eight days. Unfortunately we were not able to get photographs to identify the animals. A sighting of three killer whales has been reported of Dun Eistean, Ness.

Minke whales have been reported on 14 occasions at HWDT. Fladda Island (West of the Isle of Raasay), Ulva and Arisaig have been areas with the most sightings (7 in total). Fladda Island, Jura and Rhum were the only areas which had more than one animal in each encounter. Other areas with sightings include the Minch, Gairloch, the Isle of Coll, Canna and Davaar Island (near Campbeltown).

42 sightings have been reported at SWF. The majority of sightings came from the Isle of Raasay and the North Minch. Other areas include Stoerhead Lighthouse, Carr Point, Rona, Kyle of Bute, Jura and Neist Point on the Isle of Skye.

Finally, we received two white-beaked dolphin sightings at the beginning of the month. Seven animals have been recorded off Barra, three days later 2 animals were reported in the North Minch. Additionally, two Risso’s Dolphin encounters have been reported as well. The first encounter was off the Butt of Lewis with eight animals recorded. The second encounter was 21miles West South West of Sula Sgeir. Six animals have been recorded for the second encounter.

A pod of 100 unknown dolphins has been reported on the 21st of June. We are still waiting for information to confirm species ID.

Top of page ^