Welcome to Day 9 of the National Whale and Dolphin Watch! As the final day of the Watch draws to an end, let’s take a look back over the week with a summary from Chiara (Sightings Officer):
• Confirmed watches 617
• At the time of writing, more than 582 sightings: 7 of non-cetacean species (sunfish, basking sharks) and 575 of cetaceans; the cetacean sightings are totalling to 3,787 individual animals reported from Shetland down to South Devon and from the west coast of Wales to the Outer Hebrides
• Scotland has recorded the highest number of sightings (n=293), followed by England (n=194), then Wales (n=81). Around the Channel Islands, observers reported 13 sightings, and there were also seven reports from around the Isle of Man. One sighting was recorded in Northern Ireland
• Nine different species of cetacean (harbour porpoise, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, orca, minke whale, humpback whale)
• Sightings have been recorded from 238 locations
• 209 people conducted dedicated watches and submitted casual sightings
The final numbers will be announced once all the forms have been processed, so watch this space! Remember you can view the most up-to-date sightings on the Sightings Data page.
If you have taken part in a registered watch this week, you will have received an email asking you to complete a “Watch Info Sheet”. Please use this to submit any feedback you have about the NWDW event.
For my final watch of the week I visited Ayrmer Cove, Devon. The weather has been mostly sunny, but strong winds made for choppy waters which can make it quite a challenge to stay focused. Anybody else starting to think every wave is a fin or tail fluke? I saw cormorants, oystercatchers and black-backed gulls, but unfortunately no sightings of cetaceans! Rest assured I will not be ending my watch here.
Every time we go for a walk along the coast, or spend time out on the water, there is the potential to encounter the 30 species of whale and dolphin we are fortunate to share the British and Irish waters with. Cetaceans are facing increasing threats to their survival. These threats include disturbance, capture and drowning in fishing gear, marine pollution and overfishing. It is important we maintain the incredible dedication you have all displayed this week, and continue reporting our cetacean sightings to the Sea Watch Foundation. There has never been a more important time for scientists and the public to join forces to monitor and improve the conservation of cetaceans in UK waters. So keep championing the protection of the marine environment and keeping watch. Sometimes the best wildlife encounters are when we least expect them, so keep those binoculars handy.
There have been 78 watches today; 41 in England, 19 in Scotland, 15 in Wales, 2 in the Channel Islands and 1 in Northern Ireland. So far 30 sightings have been submitted. Another brilliant effort from you all! Many of you had very successful watches, with sightings of Atlantic white-sided dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, minke whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and harbour porpoises.
Take a look at the map of today’s sightings so far below:
A thank you note from the NWDW Team…
“As we are wrapping up our National Whale and Dolphin Watch event, in my eyes it has been very successful and I would like to thank our NWDW assistants, the many home volunteers who provided constant support, our sponsors, partners, and our inspiring, passionate and relentless volunteer observers, regional coordinators and, recommended boat operators which have made it all possible!” – Chiara
“Just say thank you to all of our volunteers, your effort and contributions are so important to us here at SeaWatch. We’ve absolutely loved seeing all of your pictures day in day out, whether it’s close ups of dolphins playing, or your dogs out on watches it’s so nice to see everybody enjoying their watches. Thankfully we’ve had fairly nice weather this week, but a special thank you to those that braved the wind and rain when it did come, we can’t wait to see all of your forms and see just how many cetaceans are out there!” – Jay
“I would like to thank everyone for their enthusiasm and help, and I hope that they got some memorable experiences along the way.” – Sian
“Although I wasn’t able to join you on the field, I have lived vicariously through your precious pictures and words. Everyday reminds us of how unique and mysterious the Ocean can be and how important it is to protect it. Thank you everybody for your contribution.” – Max
“Thank you to everybody who took part and sent in such wonderful photos. It has been an absolute joy to report your sightings every day of the event. The support of the Sea Watch volunteering community sends a strong message of hope for the future of the ocean. I hope you have all enjoyed the event this year and wish you many more whale and dolphin encounters in years to come.” – Jasmin
“I would like to thank everyone that has taken part in National Whale and Dolphin Watch this past week. The community spirit surrounding the event never fails to get me excited about everyone’s amazing encounters! It has been fantastic being able to share the daily news on Facebook. Happy watching into the future!” – Matt
“Thank you and well done to everybody who has taken part in the National Whale and Dolphin Watch this year! Please continue to let us know what cetaceans you have spotted around the UK.” – Jodie