On both the 30th of July and the 1st of August, the waters off Aberdeen, Scotland were filled with white-beaked dolphins. Whilst performing an effort based watch, Kevin Hepworth, SWF Regional Coordinator spotted the dolphins (as well as harbour porpoise and minke whale) from Souter Head on the 30th and Donmouth on the 1st. The dolphins were seen in the morning of both days with numbers peaking at 46 on the 30th and 62 on the 1st. It seemed to be all fun and games with these dolphins, as there was lots of leaping and splashing throughout the sightings!
White-beaked dolphins are actually the most common dolphin species in the UK, so they are not an unusual sight. However, it is uncommon to see them in such large numbers so close to shore. It is likely that these groups were following in schools of fish.
White-beaked dolphins get their name from the thick, short white beak. Interestingly, their name can be a misnomer because the beak can be black or grey as well. They have striking black and white colouring and can sometimes be confused with Atlantic white-sided dolphins. However, a distinguishing feature of the species is white behind the dorsal fin.
You can join Kevin on a number of land watches during National Whale & Dolphin Watch, 7th-15th August 2010. Visit http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/events.php for watch details or contact Kevin on 07818680129 or email@example.com.