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Issue 8 - Deepwaters

Scotland Magazine Issue 8
May 2003

 

This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Deepwaters

GRAHAMHALLIDAYKEEPSUSUP-TO-DATEWHALE-WISE

Thenumberofwhales,dolphinsandporpoisesinScottishwatersbeginstoswellfromJuly.Hebrideanwatersinparticularplayhosttoanumberofspecies.

“Rissosandwhite-beakeddolphinarecommoninthenortharoundLewis,”saysJulietShrimpton,marinerangerfortheHebrideanWhale&DolphinTrust(HWDT),acharitysetup1994tohelpprotectcetaceansaroundtheHebrides.“Commondolphinsaremoreoftenseeninsouthernreaches.”Thesmallestbaleenwhale,theminkewhale,killerwhalesandbaskingsharksarealsoregularvisitorstoHebrideanwaters.

Foragoodchanceofseeingthesegiantsofthedeep,Shrimptonrecommendsyougowithareputableoperator.

“Itisimportantthatpeoplegooutwitharesponsibleoperator,someonewhoisexperiencedandknowshowandwhentoapproachwhalesanddolphins.”

Butyoudon’tnecessarilyhavetogoouttoseatoobservewhales.AccordingtotheHWDT,minkewhalesareoftensightedfromtheArdnamurchanLighthouse.AnysightingsofcetaceansshouldbereportedtotheHWDTatsightings@HWDT.sol.co.uk

WorkisongoingtoeradicateandassessmajorthreatstocetaceansaroundScottishcoasts.Marinelitter,entanglementandlocalisedpollutionallcauseproblems.Underwaternoise,specificallythepotentialthreatsposedbymilitarysonarandacousticalarmsusedinfishfarms,isharmful,althoughtowhatextentisyettobequantified.

Furthereast,OperationPeregrinearoundtheFallsofClydeinNewLanarkiswellunderway.This24-hour-a-daywatchfirststartedin1998tohelpensurethesurvivalofoneofthecountry’sbest-knownperegrinefalconnestingsites.

Peregrinesarethefastestanimalsonearth,havingbeenrecordedflyingatspeedsinexcessof200mphwhenswoopingtoattack.

Theslate-blueupperparts,cream-colouredunderpartswithblackbarsandaprominent‘moustache’markonthesideofthefacedistinguishthisbird.Theyarestillrare,althoughnumbershaveincreaseddramaticallysincethe1970s,whenDDTpoisoningwipedoutpopulationsaroundScotlandandelsewhere.TheScottishWildlifeReserveattheFallsofClydeandtheCCTVhideat200ftwaterfalltheGreyMare’sTail,nearMoffat,offersomeofthebestchancesofseeingthesemagnificentbirds.

“ThechickswillfledgeinearlyJuly,andfromthenwillquitequicklyleavethenestsiteandhuntoveramuchwiderarea,”saysIanCornforth,FallsofClydeReserveManager.“VisitorsfromlateJulyonwardswillnotbeguaranteedviewsofeitheradultoryoungbirds,butmayseethem10daysinarowdependingonweatherandotherfactors.”

Upwardsof60,000visitorsayearheadtothereserve.Althoughsiteslikethishavebeenasuccess,threatsfromeggcollectors,collectorsofyoungforfalconryanddestructionbyaverysmallminorityofroguepigeon-fanciersandgamekeepersdostillexist.

InJuly,thereservealsoplayshosttootters,kingfishers,badgersandpipistrelleanddaubentonsbats,aswellasthepinemarten,Britain’srarestmammal.Thisexcellenttree-climbercanbespottedwithsomeluckinGlenAffricortheTayForest.

CONTACTS
HebrideanWhale&DolphinTrust
28MainStreet
Tobermory,IsleofMull
ArgyllPA756NU
Tel.+44(0)1688302620

TheScottishMarineWildlifeOperatorsAssociation
Whaleanddolphin-spottingtouroperatorsinformationcanbefoundatwww.merger.demon.co.uk/smwoa

TheScottishWildlifeTrustVisitorCentre
FallsofClydeReserve
NewLanark,
LanarkshireML119DB
Tel.+44(0)1555665262
Emailfallsofclyde@swt.org.uk

NationalTrustforScotlandVisitorCentre
GreyMare’sTail
AdjacenttoA708,10miles
north-eastofMoffat
Tel.+44(0)1556502575
(Ranger’soffice)
CCTVfacilitygivingexcellentviewsofaperegrinefalconnest.Programmeofguidedwalksthroughoutsummer