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.

July 2011

July was another busy month for sightings with more than 100 being reported.

As with last month we have had sightings of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins with a pod of 6 being sighted off Mangersta on the Isle of Lewis.

Over the course of July there have been 7 recorded sightings of Killer Whale. 7 orca were reported off Magersta on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis on the 28th July. The following day a pod of 4 was spotted, at various locations, off the north coast of Mull - thankfully images were taken of this encounter and we think the individuals were John Coe (large male with the notch in his dorsal fin), Comet (the other male), Moneypenny and Puffin. Please click here to watch a video taken by local fishing charter boat, Gemini, of an encounter with the pod.

There have been 17 bottlenose dolphins sightings reported for July. Again they have been sighted over a wide ranging area. 2 bottlenose dolphins were seen off Grass Point on the Isle of Mull with a large pod of 45 bottlenose dolphins sighted at Kirkcudbright Bay, and 30 at the Gulf of Corryvreckan.

In total there has been 21 sightings of Minke Whale with 1 minke passing between the islands of Iona and Staffa, and 2 minke’s spotted between Airisaig and the Isle of Eigg. There have been multiple recorded sightings of minke whales passing Ardnamurchan with additional sightings ranging over a wide area, from the Isle of Tiree to the Isle of Lewis.

There have only been 13 Common dolphin sightings reported to the HWDT during July. The largest pod of Common Dolphins was seen at Melbost on the Isle of Lewis with 100 animals, coming in close second was a pod of 80 dolphins spotted in the sound of Raasay off the Isle of Skye. Several encounters were made during the ferry crossing from Oban to Barra.

HWDT has received 5 sightings of Risso’s Dolphins with 30 dolphins being sighted off North Uist, east of Ronay. Unfortunately, HWDT scientists also attended a stranded Risso’s dolphin in July, while the dolphin had perished sometime before (meaning good analysis of the carcass could not be undertaken) blubber samples and measurements were still taken and forwarded to the Scottish Agricultural College in Inverness for further analysis.

Over 50 reported sightings of Harbour Porpoise have been recorded during July with 3 off Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull. 5 Harbour Porpoises were seen outside Portree Harbour. There have been many sightings over July of Harbour Porpoise around the Small Isles: Eigg, Rum and Muck.

There was only one report in the Hebrides of white beaked dolphin sightings during July with a relatively large pod of 20 white beaked dolphins coming out of Uig Bay on the Isle of Lewis. There have also been reports from the east coast of this species.

Excitingly a Humpback whale was sighted 2 miles south west of little Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde.

During July there were 20 basking sharks reports with 145 animals, almost half the number of those reported in 2010. The highest number was 20 basking sharks sighted off Clabbach-Gallanach on the Isle of Coll on 1st July. A Sunfish was also sighted 2 or 3 miles north of the Isle of Canna. Also, there have been sightings reported of dolphins and whales on the East coast of Scotland.

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