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 2011

As the summer season draws to a close reportings of sightings are less frequent for September, however, the sightings have been no less exciting as we had a total of 59 sightings for September, recording 215 cetaceans including a sighting of the mighty Sperm Whale, plus a sighting of a sun fish and a leatherback turtle!

Harbour porpoise were the most common sighting with 124 spotted in 32 sightings.  The largest group was a pod of 10 and most pods were around 3 or 4, the majority were spotted off the coast of Skye.

We had 6 sightings of Bottlenose Dolphins where 53 were spotted. The largest pod was a pod of 20 from Iona ferry, and the sightings ranged from Arran to the Sea of the Hebrides.

Our 4 sightings of common dolphins were around south Uist and the Sea of Hebrides, and 19 were spotted, the largest pod being 10.

A pod of 5 Risso's dolphins were seen in the Minch East of Barra, an area which has recoded sightings of Risso's dolphins before.

A single orca was spotted off the coast of Ardrossan in Ayshire.

Perhaps the most exciting sighting was of a Sperm whale off the coast of Raasay in mid-september, this is our first recorded sighting of a Sperm whale. They can grow up to 20 metres and are the largest toothed animal in the world. They have a particular fondness for squid!

6 Minke whales were spotted, all single sightings; ranging in area from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde!

We had 6 sightings of Basking shark recording 11 animals, ranging from Arran to Mull.
1 sunfish was spotted from the Stornway ferry and last but by no means least, a leatherback turtle was spotted 1 mile off shore from Mellon Udrigle, see our news section for more details!

A quieter month for sightings, perhaps due to the exciting weather we have been having!

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