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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

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Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

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Shorewatch, or Haarwatch?! September’s Big Watch Weekend.

WDC Shorewatch’s bi-annual Big Watch Weekend was a brilliant success again this September. The weather was not as kind to us as it was in June with many of our Shorewatch sites covered in a thick haar for most of the weekend. It became a serious case of Haarwatch for many of us… haar haar haar. However, our Shorewatchers persevered and did a fantastic job! A total of 45 watchers took part this September, completing 190 Shorewatches between them. That amounts to just under 36 hours of watching!

Our Shorewatchers had sightings of cetaceans on 42 of these watches, which including casual sightings, amounts to a total of 66 sightings over the entire weekend. A magnificent 387 individual cetaceans were recorded of 7 different species: harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphin, risso’s dolphin, orca, minke whale and atlantic white-sided dolphin.

Over the weekend we ran a number of competitions. The categories and winners are as follows:

  1. Our Shoreweekender: Walter Innes –  who completed 22 watches at our Aberdeen site
  2. Our Shoreteam: Tiumpan Head – with 7 observers watching from their site;  Cameron Cranston, Tristan Ap Rheinallt, Pauline Cranston , Janet Marshall, Richard Llewellyn, Morag Llewellyn and Judith Wood
  3. Our Shoresnapper: Pippa Stevens – for her lovely snap of Meg the ‘Shorewatch dog’ at our Rodel, Harris site.  And a runner up prize goes to David Haines for his fantastic picture of the moon from our Stoerhead site.

©Pippa Stevens, winning photograph – Meg the Shorewatch dog at Rodel, Harris

The Moon - Stoerhead Lighthouse

©David Haines, second place – The Moon, Stoerhead Lighthouse

We also had a prize this BWW for the latest or earliest Shorewatch completed. The prize goes to Ian Williams for his early morning watch at 6.28am, well done you early riser! My efforts at attempting an early Shorewatch at Spey Bay were rewarded with a fantastically thick harr. Haaard luck ey!

This year we have been enjoying yummy pot-luck dinners with our Shorewatchers, and BWW was an excellent excuse for another. Our Nairn Shorewatchers helped us to round up BWW with a lovely evening of homemade food.  We’ve enjoyed some wonderful company at these pot-luck dinners and are hoping to have more of these evenings across our Shorewatch sites over the year. They’re a great way to get everyone together and swap all our sighting stories!

If you are interested in joining our Shorewatch programme and becoming a part of our incredible team please get in touch with us; email: [email protected] or  telephone: 01343 820339

So, I will end with one more enormous thank you to all our Shorewatchers! You all do such a fantastic job of not only collecting vital data but also raising awareness of these amazing creatures. We really appreciate all of your hard work.

Nairn, pot-luck dinner

©Sara Pearce, Nairn Shorewatchers at our pot-luck dinner