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 2011

August was the busiest month yet with over 200 sightings reported through our community sightings network.

Bottlenose dolphins have been reported on 21 occasions this month. The Isle of Mull had most sightings-9 in total (see also our news item “bottlenose dolphin bonanza” in the news section). Three reports numbered between 10 and 30 animals; 20 animals were recorded off Glengorm on the 30th of august, three days before 30 animals were reported from the Ross of Mull and on the very first day of August 10 animals were reported from Craignure Bay. Other areas bottlenose dolphins were sighted included Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Loch Sunart, Raasay, Mallaig, Kintyre and Staffa.

Harbour porpoises were again the species with most sightings this month with a total of 126. They have been reported from all over the Hebrides from the Isles of Lewis and Skye down to Kintyre and the Clyde area.

Basking sharks have been sighted on 24 occasions. Five of these sightings counted 20 animals or more. On the 1st and 3rd of August 50+ animals were reported off Barra. On the 7th and 11th between 20 and 30 animals have been reported off Tiree. On the 18th 56 animals were reported off Crossapol,Isle of Coll.

15 sightings have been reported for common dolphins this month. For five of these sightings the number of animals counted was between 10 and 60. On the first two days of the month 30 animals were reported from Raasay and Portree, Isle of Skye. Two weeks later 16 animals were spotted from Haunn, Isle of Mull. A day later 60 animals were recorded from Tiumpan Head, Isle of Lewis. Whilst two sightings of 30 and 10 animals were recorded a day later on the ferry between Stornoway and Ullapool.

Minke whale sightings have been reported on 34 occasions. Most sightings were reported from the Small Isles, Ardnamurchan, The Firth of Clyde area, Isle of Coll, Isle of Skye, Isle of Lewis and off Tarbert. One sighting stood out this month: on the 22nd six minke whales were seen off NeistPoint on the Isle of Skye.

13 Risso’s dolphins have been reported off Lewis during the middle of the month. This was the only sighting we have had of Risso’s dolphins for August.
Sunfish have been reported on four occasions this month. Two animals were reported off Vatersay, Barra at the beginning of the month. Three sightings were recorded on the same day at the end of the month. Sunfish were spotted on the 25th of August in Loch Na Keal and Loch Scridain (Isle of Mull) and Gunna Sound.

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