There have been regular reports of bottlenose dolphins in the Firth of Forth and East Lothian area, particularly around North Berwick since the end of July and sightings are continuing to be reported. Very high numbers of sightings of bottlenose dolphins exist on the northeast and eastern coast of Scotland gradually decreasing going further south. The frequency of sightings tends to be much lower once reaching the Firth of Forth and surrounding area. However, the past month has revealed an increase in the number of sightings from this region and animals are occurring in relatively large groups.
It is likely that these animals are from the Moray Firth population and may be following fish down the coast. Last May and June, Sea Watch reported large groups of bottlenose dolphins on the eastern coast of England, which had travelled further south than ever before. Using photo identification of the dorsal fin one of the dolphins at Whitby was identified as from the Moray Firth population.
It is likely that the large groups of dolphins being seen from North Berwick and the surrounding area have come from this same population. Sea Watch asks that if anyone gets clear high resolution photographs of the dorsal fins of these animals that they send them in to us for matching.
As already mentioned, information on the long range movements and mixing of populations is poorly known. However, we are beginning to build up a clearer picture of how the dolphins are using the coastline and receiving increasing evidence that the bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth are mixing outside their population.
Thanks to the Scottish Seabird Centre for their sighting reports.