We think our second summer here on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles, Scotland has been a big success, but you can judge for yourself! Here’s a quick summary of everything we have seen in the last 7 weeks.
The first list shows all the animals that we recorded from our land-based watching site at Tiumpan Head. The second list shows all the animals that we recorded during the time we spent out on the boat… not bad for quite a wet and windy summer, eh..?
Land-based sightings from Tiumpan Head
Fin or sei whale (1)
Minke whale (5)
Risso’s dolphin (4)
Common dolphin (2)
Bottlenose dolphin (1)
Harbour porpoise (7)
Unidentified dolphin (too far to identify) (7)
Grey seal (2)
Basking shark (2)
Sightings during boat surveys
Minke whale (1)
Risso's dolphin (3)
Common dolphin (4)
Harbour porpoise (36)
Grey seal (15)
Basking shark (2)
Sun fish (1)
Unidentified dolphins (2)
2010 was a bumper year for many species (as least when we were here in August and September), including basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins, so we are a little disappointed that we didn’t see more of these species in 2011. But we did encounter some of the same Risso’s dolphins as we saw last year. Excitingly, we also saw a female with a young calf who was seen here in 2004 by our colleague Dr Weir.
We had our first identifiable harbour porpoise, imaginatively (and affectionately) known as Scratchy.
We also had a mixed group of Risso’s dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, our first sun fish and more beautiful rainbows than is surely possible, due to the rain.. and more rain.. and more rain..!
Also, we have retrieved 3 of our 6 acoustic C-PODs and we have taken a sneaky peek and have GREAT porpoise and dolphin data on them!
And the most important thing we would like to do now that we have packed up our equipment and rushed off for the ferry back to the mainland at the crack of dawn... We’d like to say a BIG thank you to everyone on Lewis who made our surveys possible, and endlessly more enjoyable. Some of these folks include: Lewis at Hebrides Fish n’ Trips, Martin Scott at RSPB, Iain and Roddy at SNH, Tony Marr, Janet Marshall and a mighty shout out goes to Ruaraigh and the fishermen who helped us to deploy and retrieve our acoustic equipment.
We would also like to thank DEFRA and Elite Couriers for funding, as well as SNH and Fish n’ Trips for in-kind support of the project.
More from us in June 2012! Until then, we wish our colleagues on Bardsey Island in North Wales the best of weather for the rest of their survey! Please
keep an eye out for their next blog.. And in the mean time, some pretty pictures to end on..