Largest ever citizen science project to catalogue the whales, dolphins and porpoises
around the coasts of the British Isles!
This week Sea Watch Foundation is calling for thousands of observers around the British Isles to participate in the largest ever survey of whales and dolphins around the British Isles.
An energetic white-beaked dolphin spotted off the Northumberland Coast on Saturday.
(Photo: Alan Leatham/ Ocean Explorer)
This year’s event takes place between July 25th and August 2nd and is already well underway with sightings pouring in from around the British Isles from the Shetland Isles in the north to the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly in the south. Over a two-hundred sightings have already been sent in, highlighting the wealth and diversity of species occurring in British waters. Notable sightings include three killer whales off Fraserburgh on Saturday 25th, three others off Hoxa Head, Orkney Monday and Tuesday, and a possible but unconfirmed report from Cardigan Bay, West Wales. Twenty bottlenose dolphins (probably part of the Moray Firth population) were seen off North Berwick on Saturday and others of this species have been putting in an appearance all around the UK throughout the event so far. Minke whales have been spotted in several places in the Hebrides as well as off north-east Scotland and in the Orkneys. The Isle of Man and Cornwall have had fantastic sightings of Risso’s dolphins (pictured below), and harbour porpoise have popped up in a great many locations all around the UK.
One of the Risso’s dolphins from an encounter in Falmouth Bay
(Photo by AK Wildlife Cruises/ Sea Watch Foundation)
“A mystery large whale was spotted off Robin Hood’s Bay on the Yorkshire coast, so it would be great to have people watching out to see if we can identify the animal to species level” says Kathy James, SWF Sightings Officer. “The National Whale and Dolphin Watch really is an exciting time of year for us. Last year, we saw eleven different species around the UK during the event from 1,150 sightings reports, and this year we anticipate even that incredible number being exceeded. It’s great when people realise the wealth of these magnificent animals right on their doorstep, and I love hearing about everyone’s whale and dolphin experiences” continues Kathy.
“Last month, we had a spate of humpback whale sightings around Britain, from the Hebrides and North-east Scotland down to South Devon and the southern North Sea.”
Humpback whales were seen recently in the Kyle of Bute, off the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Lewis, Caithness coast, Moray Firth, Kent coast, and at Paignton in South Devon (photos: PGH Evans/SWF and James Waggit/ SWF, June 2015).
New NWDW sightings since time of writing…
New sightings include a humpback whale in the Hebrides, a fin whale of NE England and a beluga whale of Northern Ireland. For a full list of sightings so far, please see www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2015/ and remember that these are being updated all the time!
Would-be whale and dolphin watchers can still get involved by heading to the coast and conducting watches of their own. They can also join in with organised activities on land or at sea which are shown here: http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2015-watch-list/.
For more information on arranging a watch of your own please see http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2015-watch-list/ or contact our Sightings Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org.