Welcome to Day 8 of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch! An amazing total of 496 sightings have been submitted during the week so far. Every one of these sightings leads to a better understanding of the whale and dolphin species found around the UK. Great to hear that so many of you have been enjoying your watches. Even when you have not seen any cetaceans during your watch, the Sea Watch Foundation is very grateful to receive your recording forms. Keep submitting your sightings online and send your forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I conducted my watch at Mothecombe in South Devon today. A very cloudy day, but sunny spells made for an enjoyable watch. I am yet to spot any cetaceans this week (still hopeful for tomorrow!) but a grey seal did make an appearance. Grey seals are the larger out of the two seals that can be found around the UK coastline. They can be readily distinguished from harbour (or common) seals by their longer snouts, which this seal is kindly demonstrating below.
There have been 78 watches today; 42 in England, 21 in Scotland, 13 in Wales and 2 in the Channel Islands. So far there have been 32 sightings submitted today. This is the highest number of watches and sightings this week, so very well done and thank you to everybody who took part!
Today’s sightings included harbour porpoise, minke whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and white-beaked dolphins. See the map below:
The Northumbrian coast has seen lots of dolphin action during the week! This is just one of the locations around the UK where white-beaked dolphins visit during the summer.
White-beaked dolphins are usually sighted in groups of no more than 10 individuals around the UK’s coastline, but they have been seen in schools of several hundred individuals in the North Atlantic (Reid, Evans and Northridge, 2003). They have been observed feeding in close proximity to minke whales, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins. For more information about cetacean behaviours, take a look at the Species Information and Fact Sheets.
One day remains of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2020! Please do get in touch and tell us how you’ve been getting on. All photos and videos of your watches are also gratefully received at email@example.com
Best of luck for tomorrow.
Sea Watch Research Intern
NWDW Feature Blogger
Reid, J.B., Evans, P.G.H. and Northridge, S.P. (2003) Atlas of Cetacean Distribution in North-west European Waters. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. 76pp.