Monday, 09 October 2017 17:55

WDC Shorewatch

Written by Chris

 I have recently signed up as a volunteer for Shorewatch, an initiative of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), a leading charity for the protection of Whales and Dolphins. 

The WDC Shorewatch scheme currently operates at 18 sites around the coast of Scotland, where a network of trained volunteers give some time to monitor the distribution of Whales and Dolphins.  Each Shorewatch is only 10 minutes of your time, you can do as many "Shorewatches" as suits you, and equipment is supplied.  The training was a day spent with similar volunteers learning more about the scheme, how to conduct a watch, and information about the species you are likely to encounter and how to identify them.  WDC has 2 new watching sites on Skye; Kilt Rock, situated on the north eastern side of the Trotternish peninsula, and Armadale at the south of the island.

Skye is fortunate to have quite a variety of species in the sea around it.  Bottlenose Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise, and Minke Whales are regularly seen, with occasional visits from Long-finned Pilot Whales, Orcas, and even Humpback Whales being reported.  At Tiumpan Head, which is near Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, there are regular reports of Risso's Dolphins, Atlantic White-sided Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins being seen.  Lewis and Harris is separated from Skye by the strech of water known as the Minch, some 30 miles wide at that point so it is possible that any of the species seen there could turn up off the Skye Coast!  Recently there has been unconfirmed reports of a Fin Whale being seen, or possibly a Sei Whale.

So, my Saturday afternoons are spent scanning the seas for fins from Kilt Rock as I do a Shorewatch, often in cold and windy conditions.  So far no Cetaceans seen in my first 4 watches, but an awful lot of curious tourists!  I will update when i get to see my first Whale!

Update!

14/10/2017 - 4 Harbour Porpoise, off the mark, now where are those Orcas?

For more information go to the WDC website, or the Shorewatch website.

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