Sunday, 4 September 2011

But there aren't any whales around now are there?!

The last few weeks have been fantastic for sightings however a bit more detail about that after I explain the title of today's blog.

As we all know there is never a guarantee with wildlife just general trends and helpful hints. Some of the longer running boat trips on Mull have witnessed many variations in the seasons sightings of Minke Whales, however the general trend is that they can be seen from April through into October, with a usual increase in sightings in late May and June. However just recently I have had a number of people come in and when they ask about boat trips they say, "but there aren't any Whales here now", where they are 'finding' this information I'm not sure but in my opinion this year later in the season has brought the best sightings. Obviously in coming years this may not be the case, however who knew after last year's amazing number of Basking Shark sightings that this year we would see them fewer times in the whole season than we did in June last year. The reason for this is not known and probably never will be however as with anything there are a number of possibles.

Anyway back to the actual sightings, the last few weeks with the exception of bad weather days Minke Whales have been seen on all trips and a number of times at least 2 whales have been seen on a trip. Last Wednesday the perfect conditions brought about some fantastic trips with an estimate of 3-7 Minke Whales being seen on a 4 hour trip. I tend to be more conservative in my estimation unless we have photographic evidence of that many individuals, however even 3 is a fantastic sight and left all on board very happy. Another bonus was that these Whales were all within an hour or so steaming from Tobermory. Another good sight on Wednesday was two Orca and two Bottlenose Dolphins seen from Ardnamurchan lighthouse.

We have had a few Dolphin sightings within the last couple of weeks, and there have also been another couple of Sunfish seen. One sighting that did seem very late in the season was a Puffin seen on the 1st of September, these little Auks will start leaving their grassy burrows from the beginning of August and usually we don't see any from the middle of the month, hopefully this little fellow will soon fly off and catch up with the others.

We're now into migration time and the boat trips will usually turn up some unusual bird sighting, so who knows what the rest of the season will bring.

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