North and South East Scotland
Hours of patient watching finally paid of for Colin Bird on Christmas Day, when he sighted the large dorsal fin of a Risso’s dolphin close in shore near Lybster Harbour. The animal headed out to sea and disappeared but within the next half an hour another two animals swam past rising right out of the water showing the blunt head and patchy grey sides, distinctive of the Risso’s dolphin. As if the Risso’s dolphins weren’t enough of a Christmas present, later on in the afternoon two common dolphins surfaced right in front of him 400 yards off shore! During January, there have been plenty of sightings at Lybster of harbour porpoise, and two more Rissos. In Moray Firth, Cullen Bay has seen a few sightings of bottlenose dolphins and porpoise have been seen off Chanonry Point. Although there have been fewer sightings of dolphins in Aberdeenshire, they are still there, large groups have been spotted of Torry Battery.
In addition, a very unusual sighting of approximately six striped dolphins was reported from Montrose Bay, seen on the 11th January heading north, passing a group of bottlenose dolphins on their way.
North East England
Some sightings of harbour porpoise from Tynemouth and a very unusual sighting of two killer whales seen 10 miles east of river Tyne on the 26th December.
Southern England and Channel Islands
A single bottlenose dolphin has been visiting the Portsmouth harbour since September and is still seen regularly. Bottlenose dolphins have also been sighted in Weymouth, Durlston and St Ives Bay and groups of between five and ten were seen several times late December in Jersey.
In Wales, there has been an almost total lack of dolphins in New Quay, although they have been seen both north and south of the Cardigan Bay. The only sightings of dolphins in New Quay in the last two months was a sighting of ten animals seen off Fish Factory on 3rd and another five seen in New Quay Bay on 21st January.
A single dolphin was seen off Mwnt in middle of February.
Harbour porpoise on the other hand have been fairly regularly both from land and from sea, by our survey boat, Dunbar Castle 2 and by local New Quay fishermen, off New Quay head, Ynys Lochtyn and Mwnt.
North West England
Other than the resident, ‘Marra’ in Maryport there has been a few sightings of harbour porpoise from Blackpool.
Risso’s Dolphins spotted on Isle of Man
A group of eight Risso’s dolphins were sighted on the Isle of Man on the 12th of December. Jackie and Graham Hall saw the group passing Port St Mary early on in the morning. The news soon spread and the entire Island was alerted to the sightings by a local radio station. Three Risso’s Dolphins were also seen later on the day by Amanda Biggins, 1km SW of Poyllvaaish Farm House. Four more Rissos were seen on the second of January from Port St Mary.
Killer Whales in Inner Hebrides and common dolphins in South West Scotland
A pod of five killer whales were seen on the 2nd December from a local ferry by the skipper, Ronny Dyer. The whales were spotted 1 mile west of Point of Sleat, the Southern Western tip of Isle of Skye just after midday.
A large pod of approximately 200 common dolphins was seen off Portpatrick off harbour, by the local RNLI boat, heading north on 8th January.