Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...

Sea Shiant-y

We (WDCS researchers Nicola and Sarah along with our able Canine Research Assistants, Kila and Harvey) have returned to the magical Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland for 8 weeks of field work in search of Risso’s dolphins and other marine megafauna – and we have received a warm and watery welcome!

Yesterday was our first land-based survey day and we were treated to two minke whales, a harbour porpoise and a sunfish sighting from our beautiful lighthouse vista at Tiumpan Head on the Eye Peninsula (To be honest, the sunfish looked more like a plastic bag when we first spotted it as it didn’t have the typical ‘sailing’ fin – but after closer inspection, and gauging its speed through the water, we were confident as to what it was!)

(c) WDCS / Nicola Hodgins
A ‘porpoising’ porpoise!

Today the forecast led us to believe that it might be good enough weather to venture out in the boat – and the forecast was mostly right, we only got a wee bit soggy! Our porpoise friends lived up to their name in Loch Erisort where they actually came ‘porpoising’ out of nowhere, puffing their way repeatedly past and under the boat.

We left the low and ominous clouds that were hanging over Lewis behind us and headed out into the Minch, and south towards the Shiant Islands. As we ploughed through the turbulent water of the East Shiants Bank, we passed a colourful puffin on the water, a few guillemots, two large rafts of some hundred odd juvenile kittiwakes, many young flying gannets and our old friends the bonxies (skuas) who came alongside to check us out.

The Shiant Islands themselves didn’t disappoint. How could they? It’s been very dry on the Western Isles for several months (of course the rain has started now that we have arrived!) and the grassy slopes above the scree are brown and autumnal. After a brief pause to admire the basking grey seals that were lazily watching us from the water, we decided to try and beat the dark and foreboding black clouds home.

(c) WDCS / Nicola Hodgins
A couple of the locals

We made good progress as the tide was now with us until Lewis, our skipper (let’s not get confused with the island now!), shouted “dolphins ahead!” We had heard that common dolphins had been spending the last few weeks in this stretch of water and we were delighted that they had found us. Let the Dolphin Olympics commence!

(c) WDCS / Nicola Hodgins
yippeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Performing world-class acrobatics, they were with us in no time. Bow-riding and leaping all around us, especially in the wake at the aft of the boat, these dolphins put on a display worthy of a gold medal or three. Speedy though they were, we counted about 25 dolphins including a very young calf and three other small animals. What a great start to our field season!

(c) WDCS / Nicola Hodgins
A wee yun!