Survey Reports

2018-08-13 - Oban–Castlebay

Survey details

Survey route: Oban–Castlebay

Company: Caledonian MacBrayne

Sea region: Minches & Western Scotland

Survey start date: 2018-08-13

Number of nights: 1

species white beaked dolphin 01
^ Stock image of a a white beaked dolphin

This survey was certainly a game of two halves with both days very different for sea states and sightings.

Having been taken up to the bridge as we left the Sound of Mull we soon had some activity. As we passed the Cairns of Coll 18 common dolphins showed themselves and came to the ship to bow ride for a brief time.  We were suprised to find that Hawes Bank was very quiet with little seabird activity and no cetaceans. We did pick up another two common dolphins between there and Barra. Just outside Castlebay, in the usual spot, we found a Minke whale feeding and the team were very excited to find 4 white beaked dolphins also in the vicinity. These were the first WBD's recorded so far on our Hebrides surveys this year.

The next day proved to be another story entirely. Rain, poor visibility, a big swell and sea state 4 meant that we only picked up 2 porpoise, both of which were in the calmer waters either end of the Sound of Mull.

As always, thank you to the crew of the Isle of Lewis for making us so welcome on the bridge.

Marine Mammals:

Harbour porpoise 2

Common Dolphin 20

White-beaked dolphin 4

Minke whale 1

Birds: 

Fulmar, great Skua, manx shearwater, guillemot, razorbill, common gull, gannet, golden plover, Arctic tern, storm petrel, kittiwake, black headed gull and Arctic skua. 

Survey team members

Andy Gilbert, Alastair MacGugan, Jim McLenna, David Devoy