With spring 2007 already shaping up to be an unusual year for whale and dolphin sightings off the Grampian coast and Moray Firth, reporting them has just got easier. Thanks to a link up between the marine conservation and research charity Sea Watch Foundation and the East Grampian Coastal Partnership, 10,000 Cetacean Sighting Reporting Cards will be available free to people visiting more than 20 land based watching sights between Fraserburg and Lunan Bay.
Sea Watch co-ordinator Kevin Hepworth says there have already been early sightings of species usually regarded as summer visitors – including three reports of minke whales and one of Risso’s dolphins. The Risso’s sighting is made even more exciting since they have only ever been recorded in the region only since 2005.
The new reporting cards show the four principle species of sea mammal spotted off the Grampian Coast – minke whales, harbour porpoise, white-beaked dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. They also provide an easy- to-follow reporting sheet which is then simply mailed to Sea Watch’s Sightings officer Hanna Nuutttila who records sightings around the UK to analyse distribution year by year.
The reporting cards are being distributed in time for this year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch from June 23 – July 1. Organised by the Sea Watch Foundation, the Watch is an opportunity for the public to help build a concentrated snapshot of species around the British Isles.