The weather couldn’t be more different today than it was this time last week when we were having long days watching and spotting porpoises throughout our survey area. We hadn’t anticipated that we would be so lucky with the good watching weather this early in the season but it’s still disappointing that the wind has returned to scupper our land-based survey now.
So whilst the rough weather means that we have a much reduced chance of spotting porpoises, we’ve had more luck with the much more conspicuous submarines, which have been left, right and centre up and down our survey area for the last few days! The odd warship can still be seen patrolling or moving at high speed as the exercise continues. I’m certainly not envious to be out on the water in these horrible winds!
We have been hoping that the seasonal minke whales would return during our field season and whilst we continue to wait, frustrated with this increasing wind, this optimism remains - thanks to the first minke sightings of the year in Scotland, both to the south of us off Ardnamurchan Point (reported on the HWDT website) and to the east of us in the Moray Firth (WDCS).
We have had some other interesting sightings, if not of cetaceans, including one of the sea eagles that nests in the craggy hills behind our field station. It was a squawking crow and a lot of associated kurfuffle that alerted me to the eagle and several other crows that scattered through the lens of our big eyes.
And whilst the strong winds and the rain prevent us from surveying, we can still enjoy the storms as the rain clouds and the squally showers travel across the Minch, occasionally catching us out as we’re walking the dogs or checking our emails in the garden. It’s looking like gale force winds are coming in for the rest of the week, so all we can do is sit and wait, and get on with our usual office work!