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.

March 2015

Coming out of winter the Hebrides has continued to suffer poor weather, particularly gales. Although cetaceans may be relatively unconcerned by this people are less inclined to venture around the coasts and less likely to see activity amongst stormy waves. This may be a contributory factor to there being relatively few sightings this month.

As usual harbour porpoises were most frequently spotted. They turned up regularly in and around Tobermory in groups of up to five, reported mainly by a regular spotter Jon Biddle, who was frequently in the right place at the right time, the place often being the deck of HWDT’s boat Silurian at her winter mooring. Other scattered sightings included the Firth of Lorne, Lismore and Loch Melfort.

This month did see a first minke whale report of the year, albeit off Chanonry Point on the east coast, a place best known for viewing feeding bottlenose dolphins from the shore. Minke whales are a species that rarely breaches and they are particularly hard to see in rough seas, and this makes it more likely that there are a number around that go unreported in bad weather.

The only other species reported this month has been bottlenose dolphins seen on three occasions around Mallaig, Tobermory Bay and Kylerhea Narrows off Skye.

A map of this sightings from 1 to 31 March can be viewed here


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