Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dolphins - Shorewatch training day on Saturday 25th June at Nairn Sailing Club

Dolphin watcher David Shaw told the Gurn

"I enjoy being out along the coast and watching dolphins in the Moray Firth. Last June my wife and I saw an advert for a free training day in Nairn to enable us to become Shorewatchers and it was one of the best things that we have done for ourselves in recent years. A Shorewatcher is a volunteer for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and we undertake to do regular, but short, watches for dolphins and other cetaceans from fixed points around the Scottish coast, one of these watch points being near the Leisure Centre in Nairn. One of the things that attracted me to becoming a Shorewatcher is that we do not work to a rota, we just turn up whenever it suits us and do a watch.

Over the last year I have learned a lot about the dolphins of the Moray Firth and visited other Shorewatch locations, including one on Lewis. A few weeks ago some of us made a trip up to John O’ Groats to watch Orca. I get a lot of enjoyment from being on the coast observing the dolphins and I am also contributing to what is called citizen science. My sightings are all logged into a database and the information is used to monitor the health of the Moray Firth dolphins and to help contractors who may be working in the Firth, eg for the undersea cable about to be laid from the offshore windfarm at Wick to Keith in Moray.

The next Shorewatch training day will be held on Saturday June 25 at the Nairn Sailing Club and runs from 10:30 to 3pm. Teas and biscuits are provided but you should bring your own packed lunch. The training is given by Katie Dyke from the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay and you should contact Katie in advance to secure a place. 

Contact Katie by telephoning 01343 820339 or by email at

Come along and give it a try, I am very pleased that I did."

David also tells us in connection with reports of a dead porpoise on the West Beach that featured in social media posts locally this weekend:

"On Saturday lunchtime one of the Leisure Centre staff advised us that he had seen a dead porpoise on the shore, just east of The Golf View, that morning and reported it. Carol and myself went along and took a couple of photos which I posted on the 'Shorewatch' FB page and, at the same time, I telephoned the responsible body Scottish Marine Animals Stranding Scheme (SMASS) who advised that they had already been notified and were visiting in the afternoon. The SMASS inspection is to see if they want the carcass for a post-mortum but given the bloated condition of this mammal I suspect that they would just have requested the Council to remove it. Whether or not that has happened yet, I don't know.

To report dead marine animals the finder should telephone SMASS at 01463 243030. "

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