“Do we even get dolphins here?” This is a question I get asked on a daily basis. I am the Regional Coordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation in the North West, a marine research charity focussing on the study of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK, and I am happy to say the answer is a definite ‘yes’! In August we have had over 20 sightings; harbour porpoises and grey seals are the two most commonly sighted species but we also get bottlenose dolphins and there have even been a number of suspected minke whale sightings further along the coast towards Blackpool! As a Regional Coordinator, I am working to set up a sightings network and raise awareness of the amazing marine mammals that can be found right on our doorstep here on the Wirral and everyone can get involved!
There are many ways to get involved with Sea Watch’s work, whether it is home based volunteering, submitting sightings or joining me for land based cetacean watches! Sea Watch has the longest running cetacean sightings database in the country and it is a valuable tool to identify areas of cetacean activity around the country. The North West has received very little coverage in the past, so whether you just want to submit an opportunistic sighting or get involved on a more regular basis, every contribution counts! No need to be experienced, I provide all training required, just bring some waterproofs and patience! The next big event will be the Sea Watch Event in collaboration with the Wirral Rangers and RSPB on the 29th September; a fun filled day of watching birds, seals and hopefully cetaceans from Hilbre Island! There are still a couple of places left, just call 0151 6484371 for more information and to book your place! And if sitting out watching the sea is not for you but you still want to learn more about our local marine life, I am also happy to do talks for local groups or classes! If you want to get in touch or just keep up to date with land based watches and events, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter (@Nwcetaceans).
For more background on this project visit the Sea Watch website (http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/) and my blog (http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/blogs/katrin-lohrengel/)