Despite the dismal weather in most parts of the UK the National Whale and Dolphin Week turned out to be a great success. Sightings are still being sent in and the total number of sightings is expected to be near 600.
Seventy-seven manned sites were advertised to the general public, but watches were carried out in several hundred locations around the country. The harbour porpoise was the most frequently seen cetacean with 330 sightings, the bottlenose dolphins were reported 129 times during the week. The third most common cetacean species was the minke whale with 40 sightings. Other species spotted were Atlantic white-sided, short-beaked common dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, one humpback whale and two killer whale sightings.
However, just after the watch week there were sightings of fin whales in the Irish Sea, close to West Wales coast, a group of four killer whales in the Bristol Channel, two Sowerby’s beaked whales sighted in the Moray Firth and three Northern bottlenose whales spotted in the Inner Hebrides.
Notable sightings from this years watch include:
Harbour porpoise hotspot confirmed near Ilfracombe, North Devon
Dolphin species spotted in Blackwater estuary, Essex
Large groups of harbour porpoise off Cresswell, Northumberland
Common dolphins in Cardigan Bay
Killer whales of Mull of Galloway
Abundance of harbour porpoises in Cumbria and Yorkshire
A humpback whale near Alderney, Channel Islands.
Sea Watch would like to thank all the regional coordinators, local organisations, manned site organizers, volunteers and each and every single person who contacted and reported their sightings. Please remember that we collect data all year round so do continue to send in your records. A detailed report of this and other years’ watches will be available on the website soon.