Written by Sea Watch 2015 Research Intern, Emma Weitzner, BSc Marine Biology, Duke University.
With 529 sightings submitted from all over the UK between 25th July and 2nd August, it is safe to say that Sea Watch Foundation’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2015 was very successful! Watches took place in dozens of different locations throughout the UK, including all the way up in the Shetland Islands to as far South as the Channel Islands.
This year we matched 2014 in terms of the number of different species seen: 11! Some species were a fairly common occurrence in many of the watch locations, such as bottlenose dolphins, short-beaked common dolphins and harbour porpoise. In addition, killer whales were seen all over Scotland, from the Orkneys to the Hebrides and down into the Southwest.
However, certain species were seen more rarely, and in some cases were only seen at one location. For example, there was only one fin whale observed in North Yorkshire, and the only humpback whale recorded was seen South of Mull. Without a doubt the most notable and rare sighting during the National Whale and Dolphin Watch was the lone, and most likely lost, beluga whale seen off of Northern Ireland! To learn more about this exciting sighting you can check out the News and Articles section of the Sea Watch website.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who participated in National Whale and Dolphin Watch this year – we couldn’t have done it without you! If you organised a watch or took part and still have data or sightings, make sure to send them in!