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 2012

This month we have had just shy of 200 sightings, so a big thank you to all those who have reported their finds! Once again our most common sighting was harbour porpoise with over 80 sightings reported, many thanks to Noel, from Summer Queen Cruises. Their quiet peacefulness is in great contrast to our second most reported Cetacean, the bottlenose dolphin! We had 29 sightings of these lively creatures, mostly around The West Coast of Mull. The majority of people have reported them 'playing' around their boats, and 'Bow Riding', 'leaping out of the water' and 'larking around'. For anyone lucky enough to have had this experience, it takes some beating! One person reported a group of dolphins doing 'multiple gymnastics out of the water', whilst another watched a grey seal swimming with dolphins which he said 'looked rather funny'!

Basking Sharks have been reported a lot this month with 23 sightings which is encouraging as basking shark numbers appeared to be down all over the UK last year.  We have also had a number of minke whale sightings, 23 in total and a majority of them around North West Mull/Coll area but ranging from Skye to the Sound of Jura. Large groups of common dolphins have been seen again this month with 17 sightings, and like the bottlenose dolphins, showing off their agility. They tend to travel in larger groups with the largest group of up to 150 animals reported by Seafari Skye from the Sound of Sleat, a definite hotspot.

The orcas have been around! Specifically up in the Achiltibuie area, a pod of around 8 individuals with a large male leader! 6 sightings were reported in total. And last but by no means least was a rare sighting of a pod of long finned pilot whales in Loch Sunart. They were described as 'coming up on the flood as far as Glenborrodale Castle, then following the ebb out'. Please keep your sightings coming in! It is always worth reporting a sighting, even if you are unsure of the species. Someone reported an unknown species, possibly an Orca this month, and looking through the sightings it becomes apparent it definately was an Orca, as someone else spotted one around the same time, same place!

Top of page ^