Killer whales photographed from the land during the 2018 Orca Watch. (Photo: Colin Bird/ Sea Watch Foundation)
Killer whales photographed from the land during the 2018 Orca Watch. (Photo: Colin Bird/ Sea Watch Foundation)

Scottish sea spotters wanted for whale and dolphin watch

Scottish sealife lovers are being asked to play their part in this year’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch.

Run by the Sea Watch Foundation, a national charity based in New Quay, West Wales, they work to improve the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in British and Irish waters.

Rhiannon Nicholson, National Whale and Dolphin Watch assistant for the Sea Watch Foundation, urged as many people as possible to take part.

She said: ‘We are beginning the countdown to the start of our annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch, a 9-day event in which we aim to get a general snapshot of what is in UK coastal waters.

‘This event has been running for 16 years and we have observers along the UK coastlines ready to watch the waters for us, but we need as many eyes on the sea as possible this year.

‘This is a unique opportunity for everyone in the UK; whether you live near the coast, are planning a trip to the seaside, taking a ferry crossing, or for anyone sailing or boating around the country during these nine days.

‘All you need is a pair of binoculars, a nice place to look out over the water, some patience and enthusiasm, and one of our observation packs which can be sent to you via post.

Killer whales photographed from the land during the recent Orca Watch. (Photo: Colin Bird/ Sea Watch Foundation)

‘You can do this on land or via boat, for as long as you want and as many times as you want during the event.

‘We are suggesting for people to conduct their land watches for a minimum of two hours and to work in groups to take turns during data collection. If you are an experienced watcher, you can easily identify species and fill in our website forms. If it is the first time for you, there are manned sites around the country where experienced watchers will be available to assist first timers.

‘We hope to have as many people watching the water as possible

‘Last year, 6590 individual animals of 11 different species were sighted along the UK coastline. During that week, more than 1500 hours were spent looking out for cetaceans around the UK; 300 hours more than in 2016. We hope to set a new record this year!

‘2017 saw a pod of long-finned pilot whales in Moray Firth, striped dolphins near the Isles of Scilly, many sightings of killer whales in the north of Scotland, and humpback whale in the north-east of the UK and the Isle of Man.’

For more information, click HERE.

If you are interested in collecting data, email Rhiannon at for details.