24 November – Humpback whale off Isle of Skye
A solitary humpback whale was seen on Monday the 20th and again on the 24th between South Rona and Isle of Skye, in the Sound of Rona, in Inner Hebrides. The sighting was made by Peter Fowler of Skye Seafaris, who operate from Armadale.
20 November – Sperm whale group sighted in the Moray Firth
The Search and Rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth was on a routine training exercise on Sunday the 19th when John Ewer and his crew spotted something unusual in the water, just three miles of the mouth river Spey. A group of nine whales were laying on the surface, with large bulbous heads and noses clearly visible from the air. The crew managed to get some video footage of the whales, which were later identified as sperm whales. These are deep water species living in the open ocean, feeding on the squid and deep water fish of the continental slopes, although every now and then some accidentally enter the North Sea, and usually strand after struggling to find food in the shallow shelf waters.
However there has been several unusually sightings of beaked whale species in the Moray Firth this summer and autumn, and locals have reportedly seen Danish squid fishing boats in the Inner Moray Firth recently. A sudden migration of squid into the area might explain why these sperm whales had ventured into these shallow waters, so far from their natural ocean habitat.
12 October – Possible group of five Risso’s dolphins spotted in Norfolk
A bird watcher, Jonathan Rice reported a group of five large dolphins off the coast of Walcott in Norfolk on the 12th October. He first sighted tall sickle shaped dorsal fins travelling through water and decided these were not the ordinary porpoise he was used to seeing in the area. Then two of the animals jumped clear out of the water, with their blunt rounded foreheads clearly visible, without distinct beaks. These animals were identified as possible Risso’s dolphins, which although regularly seen in the Northern North Sea, are unusual and rare visitors to the Norfolk coats.
11 October – Life saving sponsorship from Western Power Distribution to Sea Watch volunteers
Sea Watch volunteers in New Quay will not need to fear the occasional shower or cold wind anymore. The Western Power Distribution agreed to sponsor six sets of rain and wind proof suits for the volunteers who help conduct research into the bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise populations in Cardigan Bay. Western Power also donated eight life jackets for the volunteers and staff to wear whilst surveying at sea onboard their research vessels. As the volunteers are stationed on the roof of the survey vessel and have to move about whilst photographing the animals, it is essential that a life jacket is worn at all times. The automatically inflated lightweight jackets are ideal for the survey work.
16 September – Minke whales off North Yorkshire coast
Two adult minke whales were sighted from the fishing boat Jean K, approximately five miles from Whitby on the 16th September by Rob Stark. One of the whales was very inquisitive and circled the boat for about twenty minutes!