Ringing in the (wildlife) changes at the Scottish Dolphin Centre
Volunteering as a guide at the Scottish Dolphin Centre this summer, I’ve gotten used to telling visitors that we’ve been seeing the Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins at least once a day, with often spectacular displays of breaching. However, as the summer is making way for autumn and the salmon are running a little less, I’ve found my sightings of them to be less often and less exuberant. That’s not to say they aren’t making delightful appearances (such as earlier this week – at least ten dolphins swimming and splashing their way past Spey Bay), but now each one to me becomes that bit more special as, in two short months, I’ll be leaving this amazing place and saying see you later (definitely not goodbye!) to the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world.
When we carry out our shorewatches at Spey Bay, as well as any dolphin sightings, we also record any ospreys that we see. My last sighting of one was on the 1st September and will likely be one of my last as they are now starting to make their long journey back to Africa for the winter. Watching these stunning birds hovering at great height, then swooping down for (hopefully) a successful fish catch is always a thrill and I wish them well on their long flight south.
Although the dolphins might be the reason for WDC being here at Spey Bay, as many of the other centre volunteers’ blogs have shown, the other wildlife to be seen and enjoyed is just as great. Just recently we ran a Twilight Walk to discover what life wakes up after the sun goes down. The evening was a great success, with encounters of bats, moths, deer and even the haunting call of a tawny owl!
With the first hints of autumn in the air the wildlife around here is changing; some creatures are on their way to pastures new and others will be coming back to revisit their winter homes, all of which I’m looking forward to experiencing at Spey Bay.