/ Home / Your Council / News / News Releases / 2009 / July
Common Dolphins put on a great show (03/07/09)
Click images to enlarge (images open in the same window)
Pods of up to 200 Common Dolphins have recently been seen in the Assynt area and have given tourists some marvellous viewing opportunities.
As part of the annual Whale and Dolphin Watching week at the end of June this year, Highland Council's Ranger Service organised a watching event at Stoer Lighthouse. With great weather conditions the Rangers were able to point out to over thirty members of the public terrific views of dolphins leaping out of the water and porpoises with young ones.
Andy Summers, Senior Ranger for Sutherland, said: “This event was part of a national event and the results would be fed through to the national coordinating body Seawatch Foundation. This past week has been great for seeing cetaceans (whales and dolphins) because the sea has been so calm and there seems to be lots of shoals of small fish moving about."
Common Dolphins are one of a number of species of dolphin that regularly visit the north of Scotland. They are the smallest of the dolphins, about 2m long. (Bottlenose Dolphins that are seen in the Moray Firth can be up to 4m long). They usually travel in pods that can number up to one hundred.
Andy added: “We were able to watch them circling shoals of fish and before plunging into the circle in a feeding frenzy. For a while the sea was alive with them leaping and jumping. It was very hard to count them but we definitely saw juveniles as well."
Common Dolphins are dark above and pale below and are very acrobatic and love to bow ride in front of passing boats. However boat owners are reminded not to get too close as it is a criminal offence to disturb these creatures. They feed on small fish and squid.
Also this week Highland Council's Ranger for the North coast was reporting magnificent views of Porpoises, Minke Whales, Risso’s Dolphins and White-beaked Dolphins at an early evening sea watch at Strathy Point. Paul Castle, Ranger for North Sutherland commented that “Strathy Point was one of the best places in the north of Scotland to see whales and dolphins”.
Notes to editor:
- The National Whale and Dolphin Watching Week happens every year and is designed to provide a snap shot of what whales and dolphins occur around the coast of Britain.
- The Highland Council rangers run a programme of guided walks and events for the public which includes watching for cetaceans.
24 species of whale and dolphins have been recorded around the West coast of Scotland.
- There are five species of Dolphin that occur regularly on the north and north west coast of Scotland.