• Robyn Palmer

September sightings brings porpoise and dolphins.


Spotting splashes in the distance

Tuesday 17th September 2019: It was such a beautiful day to be out on the water. After a few weeks of strong winds and rain here on the Isle of Lewis, the weather finally calmed down and the sea settled giving us perfect conditions to get out there with the binoculars. We had a great group of keen wildlife watchers aboard including 2 sea-watchers experienced at spotting distant fins. A few seals came to see us off as we left the marina and not long into the trip we had a group of harbour porpoises on either side of the boat moving very fast. These are residents in our waters and seem to be very active at this time of year, so with such calm water we recorded many more sightings of porpoise throughout the trip.

Happy guests enjoying their trip aboard MV Monadliath

Another common sighting were the black guillemots, now changing into their winter plumage they look rather more white than black. While most members of the auk family like the other guillemot, razorbills and puffins only visit the islands for the nesting season in May to July, the black guillemot stays year-round.

A beautiful gannet flying past - we often get to see them up close like this.

We also had a few elegant gannets flying by the boat and many kittiwakes including some juveniles, a sign of this year’s successful nesting season. The highlight of the trip was of course the common dolphins - a big shout out to the sea-watchers who spotted the dolphins close to the shore. We circled back towards them to see another group approaching the others, the two groups joined, jumping and playing with each other and although they approached the boat, they were not interested in bow-riding with us. Nonetheless they were a delight to watch and sent us home happy after another fantastic day out on the Monadhliath.

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