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 2012

Our community sightings network has collated dozens of each of our more frequently seen species throughout May; including bottlenose dolphins, minke whales and harbour porpoises, and literally hundreds of sightings of common dolphins; often seen in pods of up to 100 individuals! There have been 17 orca (killer whales) sightings, stretching from a wide range of areas: some seen around the Monarch Isles, south west of North Uist; and also further north, around the Flannan Islands; but with another sighting as far away as a mid-point between Shetland and Norway! Some of the region's more uncommon species such as the Risso's dolphin and the Atlantic white-sided dolphin, in Loch Miodart and Achiltiebuie Bayin, respectively; with 10 sightings of each. The Risso's dolphin, a worldwide, temperate and tropical species, has an impressive diving capability of up to half an hour at a time. We've also had a large number of one of our most fascinating non-cetacean species: the basking shark. They have been spotted around all over the region: near Arinagour, the south coast of Tiree, Bag Huisinis, Crossapool Bay and the mouth of Loch Cuin.

May Silurian post: During May there were three research voyages aboard the Silurian. Weather varied greatly from blazing sunshine to the more typically Scottish elements of wind and rain. As the boat sailed around the Hebrides plenty of sightings have been recorded including common dolphins which on one occasion were even bow riding with their calves!  Harbour porpoises, minke whales, basking sharks and the less commonly sighted white beaked whales were also spotted as well as many grey seals, sea birds and even a dead sheep. The hydrophone was very successful in recording acoustic data from cetaceans, particularly harbour porpoises and common dolphins even when they could not be seen on the surface.

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