Earlier in the week it had looked like we might have to cancel the survey due to the stormy weather but by Thursday we were pleased to see the forecast looking better.
It was still dark in Oban when the team met at 6:30 and boarded the MV Clansman for, the last survey of the year in this location. The sun rose as we grabbed some breakfast in the ferry café and it was fully light as we arrived on the bridge. We’d only been surveying for a couple of minutes when we spotted our first 2 harbour porpoises just as we passed Lismore lighthouse.
A sighting of a lone harbour porpoise and a group of 3 soon followed as we entered the Sound of Mull. As usual the white caps became more prevalent and the sea state picked up as we left the Sound. As we entered the relative shelter of the waters just to the south of the Isle of Coll 3 common dolphins passed by very quickly and very close to the ship. After docking at Coll 2 more harbour porpoise were spotted as we made our way to Tiree. After docking again at Coll we headed back into the Sound of Mull where things were quiet until we spotted 3 more harbour porpoise at the south end of the Sound before finishing with 2 more harbour porpoise at the entrance to Loch Linnhe.
Due to timetable change and the darker evenings it wasn’t going to be possible to survey the whole of the Oban-Colonsay-Oban route.
Many thanks to Cal Mac and especially the crew of the Clansman for supporting our research and making us so welcome.
Kittiwake, Common Gull, Shag, Great Skua, Guillemot, Cormorant, Gannet, Razorbill, Curlew, Redshank, Osyter catcher, Eider duck, Great blacked-backed gull, Manx shearwater.
Andy Gilbert, Jane Dodd, Will Brown, Sarah Harvey