Saturday 7 August 2010

National Whale and Dolphin Watch

Hi all

I'm back in time to help my buddy Steve run the local watch site for National Whale and Dolphin Watch Week, which runs from 7th-15th August 2010.
Steve is the Sussex regional coordinator and he works with a group of volunteers to monitor sea mammals locally and raise awareness of these amazing animals.

Members of the public are invited to take part in National Whale and Dolphin Watch, either by helping the trained observers on manned watches or by performing their own timed watches and sending in sightings.
I was really surprised to find out that 28 different species of whale and dolphin have been recorded around the UK and 13 species are seen on a regular basis.

This event is an opportunity for everyone to become involved in the research which goes into understanding these magnificent creatures. This is the 9th year this event has taken place. The results of the watch provide a snapshot of the distribution of whales, dolphins and porpoises around the British Isles and are helping inform scientific debate on any change in the range and distribution of species.

We ran the Sussex manned watch site at Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve starting at 10.00am was a bit windy at first but the sun came out later.
Many people came along and helped out during the day. The number of people visiting the beach increased with the sun.
We also had a display stand about local dolphin sightings and a whale and dolphin identification quiz for children, but some adults also had a go – and not surprisingly the children often got more right.
I helped with the display, which also included some pictures about my global travels.

We didn't see any dolphins or whales on the day which was a bit disappointing –especially after my experiences in the US, but I was pleased to help out, as Shoreham is his local beach. Also, this is scientific research. Steve and the rest of the people at Sea Watch Foundation are concerned about the falling numbers of bottlenose dolphins arond the UK, which is the species we normally see off Sussex.

There are 34 other regional groups around the UK taking part in this event. I was invited to visit some of these other sites during the week, but I felt this would be too tiring as I have only just returned to the UK. However, Bella my sister has travelled up to Cardigan Bay in Wales to help out in my place.

Bye for now, Ed

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