Well the 6 weeks holidays have kicked off here in Scotland and as I am writing this blog the sun is beating down on Spey Bay (I would love to take the office outside on the beach today!). Even the wildlife knows it is summer as the dolphins, seals and ospreys are turning up every day to give our visitors a treat. I have even caught a glimpse of the odd otter or two! Even when the real dolphins out in the Moray Firth are being quiet our visitors can spot a few special dolphins at the Scottish Dolphin Centre.
Sundance has been about quite a lot recently, nearly always in the company of Zephyr and Breeze. I came across him and Mischief together out at sea too - the two big, powerful males and buddies at the periphery of a group that had a lot of girls and youngsters in it. Big males like Sundance often prowl about, looking after territory and keeping up friendships, and being a very inquisitive species anyway - often just checking something, or someone out.
Thanks to the generosity of Sundance adopters and WDC supporters the White family - I have been out at sea on two different boat trips recently. On Monday we were out just a little North of Cromarty when we came across Rainbow and her two year old calf who were both looking great and then on Tuesday morning a bit further out to sea we came across fifteen or so dolphins that included Sundance, Mischief, Spirit and Shimmer and these two characters who thought that we needed checking out...
WDC Shorewatch is a trained network of volunteers who conduct shorewatches to monitor the presence and absence of cetaceans around the Scottish Coast. WDC Shorewatch hold a bi-annual event called Big Watch Weekend. This calls on all our shorewatchers around the Scottish Coast to get out and conduct as many watches as possible during the daylight hours.
“Revealed: whale-watching boats the greatest collision threat to whales” — this big hype headline sadly comes from The Guardian which is normally more careful about reporting. Their subhead is no better: “Guardian Australia analysis of International Whaling Commission data shows motor yachts, naval vessels and ferries come close behind.”
The migratory salmon run is picking up a little in the Inner Moray Firth and this means that as the summer goes on, progressively more dolphins move into the area to hunt - what we call a "stratified movement". In the photo below you can see Mischief throwing a huge salmon up into the air before swallowing it. I hope that I see him doing this many, many times throughout the season as a big dolphin like him takes a LOT of feeding to remain healthy.
Here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, we are all super excited for the summer to kick off. Next week the school holidays start and I for one couldn’t be happier, as it means Spey Bay will soon welcome the arrival of kids and their families looking for a fun day out.
Just days after a Westminster environmental committee criticised the UK Government for delays in designating and properly managing MPAs in English waters, Marine Scotland has announced measures to better protect seals at 194 haul out sites around the Scottish coastline.
News from the North: Despite heavy criticism, Canada has officially announced approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Canadian equivalent of the much debated, much delayed Keystone XL pipeline here in the U.S. Environmental concerns over the development of the two pipelines are similar – damage from extraction and transport, the potential for catastrophic oil spills, reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and the use of a heavier, cruder form of oil. The Northern Gateway pipeline may have been “officially approved,” but that