This year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch, which starts on Saturday 27 July, is on course to set new records.
The watch is run by the marine research and conservation charity Sea Watch Foundation who report that the number of hours of pledged during land watches is up by more than 30% on last year, and they are hoping that more members of the public than ever before will take part, inspired by the recent good weather and exciting sightings already recorded.
The event also has the support of WiSE accredited wildlife boat operators and other recommended tour operators who will be collecting data at sea and has even received international support with Delta Safari, extending their seal count just south of Rotterdam Harbour to include cetaceans on 27 July!
The watch continues until 4 August around the coast of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Organisations taking part include a number of coastal Wildlife Trusts , and National Trusts and many other organisations.
Members of the public are being urged to join in land watches to help gather data or send in their own sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Recent notable sightings include: exceptionally large numbers of minke whale recorded in the Irish Sea and off Whitby; bottlenose dolphins in Liverpool Bay matched with those known to have been recorded in Cardigan Bay; unusual bottlenose dolphin sightings close to shore in Blackpool and a rise in numbers of harbour porpoise sightings off the Norfolk coast..
Sightings Office Danielle Gibas is hoping to receive recorded sightings of at least 10 species. She says: “We know that at least 12 species of whales, dolphins and harbour porpoise are likely to be around the coast at this time of year ,and we hope that, with the help of observers and members of the public, we may even have sightings of some rare visitors. These watches help us to gauge the numbers and populations of each species , and feed into discussions of trends and population health.”