Whale and dolphin sightings

Dolphin watching at Chanonry Point, Scotland
Dolphin watching at Chanonry Point, Scotland
WDC collates sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises, from all around the UK. At least 28 species known globally have been recorded in UK waters.

Watching whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild is a privileged experience and everyone has their own unique encounters with these amazing creatures. We collate sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively known as cetaceans, from all around the UK.

Sightings are becoming more frequent as awareness of UK whales and dolphins increases and it remains important to maintain a record of every sighting.  These records help us build an archive of their movements and gives an indication of the where whales and dolphins choose to make their homes within UK waters. It is only by increasing our understanding of these creatures that we can effectively protect them. We welcome sightings information from professional surveyors and the public.

There are four essentials to remember in order to provide us with really useful records:

  • What is the species - give the English name, and the scientific (Latin) if possible. To help you identify the species you see take a look at our species guide
  • Where did you see the whale or dolphin - give a precise location, latitude/ longitude or a six figure grid reference. 
  • When did you see the whale or dolphin - day, month, year. 
  • Who saw the whale or dolphin - give a name. If you did not make the identificaiton, also give us the determiner’s name.
If, by chance, you manage to take photographs or video of wild whales or dolphins please send them to us. Photographs not only help with identification, they can also be extremely useful in patching together movement patterns of some coastal species. Photo identification of whales and dolphins has been used all over the world to track individuals and study group composition and associations between different individuals. If you take a cracking good photo of a whale, dolphin or porpoise, it could be very useful to look at any markings that could distinguish this individual from others.

How to Report a Sighting

The quickest and easiest way to submit your sightings is by using our online recording form. This form uses ineractive maps to help you pinpoint your exact location, and you can also send photos with your sightings to show us what you have seen and to help with identification!

If you wish to submit a number of sighings, use our multiple sightings recording form and send it back to us at info@whales.org 

If you have any queries email us at info@whales.org