After a fantastic season it’s time for Shorewatch’s bi-annual Big Watch Weekend: 12th, 13th and 14th September. During this weekend our dedicated Shorewatchers layer up and anchor themselves to their Shorewatch sites, with the aim of completing as many Shorewatches as possible. We will then be able to see what is going on at that exact point in time with whales, dolphins and porpoises around the Scottish coastline. We have 24 specific Shorewatch sites where volunteers complete 10-minute surveys that monitor presence and absence of whales, dolphins and porpoises. These Shorewatches are not conducted more than once an hour so that there is sufficient time to allow the cetacean to leave the area and avoid being counted twice.
Here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, during Big Watch Weekend, and in fact every day of the week until 31st October, we shall be conducting Shorewatches on the hour, every hour during our opening times. Come down and join us and hopefully we shall spot some of the world’s largest bottlenose dolphins together.
This year our Shorewatchers have had some fantastic sightings. Ranging from harbour porpoise to common dolphin, risso’s dolphin to orca and minke whale to humpback whale! All these sightings highlight what a fantastic platform the Scottish coastline is for land-based cetacean watching! So what are you waiting for? Head out to one of our Shorewatch locations and see what you can spot for yourselves.
And the Shorewatch team have had a lovely time visiting all the sites and learning about the Shorewatcher’s different local areas. We have certainly improved our bird and plant ID skills along the way as well! Katie and I have a wonderful time IDing plants in the stunning wildflower meadows at St Cyrus. Sara and Katie recently went to the Outer Hebrides and on the ferry ride alone spotted 43 harbour porpoises, 2 minke whales, 12 common dolphins and 1 risso’s dolphin. They enjoyed a wonderful pot-luck dinner with the team at Tiumpan Head and then went over to Rodel, Harris, where they had a fantastic minke whale sighting and a possible orca sighting! And only two days ago the three of us joined the Stoer team for the day and aside from getting ourselves some glowing sunburnt faces, had a wonderful time Shorewatching all day. I had my first common dolphin sighting. I couldn’t believe the speed with which they move! We then ended the day watching a harbour porpoise mother and calf pass by just in front of us.
Our Shorewatchers all do an amazing job to help protect these incredible creatures so the Shorewatch team would like to take this chance to thank them for their commitment and hard work! We couldn’t do it without them!
For more information about the Shorewatch programme please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or by calling 01343 820339