We were greeted by the crew at the gangway with tales of dolphins at Rue Point so the team was excited to get started. When we arrived on the bridge the wind was higher than we anticipated and we had a pretty quiet crossing in a sea state 4. There were quite a lot of seabirds around but we didn’t pick up any cetaceans until close to Stornoway Harbour where a probable small Minke whale showed in the very same area where another Minke had been recorded by the Wildlife Officer the day before.
The return leg remained choppy. Just off Lewis we counted 4 pale Arctic skuas and watched a tussle between one of them and a kittiwake. Soon after a group of 8 common dolphins (including a couple of calves) raced in to the ship giving us views in amongst the waves.This was to be our only dolphins of the crossing. Despite the sea state reducing on the eastern side of the Minch we didn’t pick up anything else apart from one grey seal and 2 boats of rowers undertaking the mammoth crossing of the Minch from Stornoway to Ullapool in aid of MS.
Despite the lack of cetaceans we had a great survey and would like to thank the captain and crew of MV Loch Seaforth for their continuing support and facilitation of our bio-diversity monitoring.
Marine Mammals Seen:
Common dolphins 8
Minke whale 1
Grey seal 1
Kittiwake, shag, guillemot, razorbill, puffin, fulmar, gannet, Arctic skua, Arctic tern, great skua and great black-backed gull
Andy Gilbert, Jan Storie, Eleanor Butler