Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sightings of common dolphins

Data gathered by marine charity Sea Watch, will help inform researchers.

Sea Watch, which is organising next week's event, has reported several common dolphin sightings around the Northern Isles in the past few weeks.

A group of between 60 and 100 were recently seen north of Fair Isle, the largest number in 50 years.

Over the last five years, several sightings of the species were reported in Shetland but always involving small groups and during mid to late summer.

Unusual sightings

For the first time, sightings over winter and in early spring are also being reported from the north of Scotland and down the east coast as far as the Firth of Forth.

Dr Peter Evans, research director of the Sea Watch Foundation, said: "This is probably related to the continued strong flow of the North Atlantic current which is likely to have brought warmer water species of fish like anchovy and pilchard, that are typical prey of common dolphins, into more northern waters."

The National Whale and Dolphin Watch, which runs from the 23 June to 1 July, is held annually allowing the public to join experienced whale and dolphin spotters at lookout points around the coast and record numbers of marine mammals.

Scottish locations for manned watches include Strathy Point in north Sutherland, Gairloch Marine Life Centre, the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick and Chanonry Point, Moray Firth.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"