Learn to lookout for whales and dolphins on Lewis

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WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, will be holding a Shorewatch training session on the Isle of Lewis on Saturday, 9th March 2013 (10.30am -4pm), at Stornoway Coastguard Station.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to help record vital data about whales and dolphins within the Minch can sign up, come along, and receive expert training.

WDC (formerly WDCS) Shorewatch relies on community volunteers to monitor the presence of whales, dolphins and porpoises around Scotland. WDC is asking for volunteers to carry out regular 10-minute watches from the Tiumpan Head Shorewatch site to help us learn more about how these amazing creatures use our coastline.

If you like to get out and about and are keen to see more of your local wildlife then Shorewatch is for you.

In particular WDC is keen to find out more about the little known but easily identifiable Risso’s dolphins that use this coastal area.

By training up community volunteers we hope to extend WDC research; collecting vital sightings data all year round. Janet Marshall, a dedicated WDC Shorewatcher said: “One of the nicest things about doing a Shorewatch is explaining what you are doing to other people, and sharing their excitement if there are whales or dolphins in the vicinity.

“Last summer I thought a Frenchwoman was going to burst with sheer excitement as minke whales came very close to Tiumpan Head, we could hear them blow and call just by the lighthouse. I also really enjoy doing the watches by myself - I can feel my batteries recharging!”

In addition to learning how to identify Lewis’s whales and dolphins around the waters of Lewis, volunteers have the opportunity to learn how to recognise and report strandings, will receive the latest whale and dolphin related news and will also learn how best to raise awareness of the threats whales and dolphins face in Scotland today.

Kila Taylor, WDC Scottish conservation officer, said: “Shorewatch is a great opportunity to get actively involved in protecting whales and dolphins. You can watch whenever you feel like it – on the way to or from work, out with the dog or on a family walk at the weekend, so I encourage everyone to come along to the training day and help WDC collect this vital data.”

Booking is essential as places are limited. If you are interested in joining us or finding out more about the WDC Shorewatch Programme, please contact Kila Taylor by email shorewatch@whales.org or phone 01343 820 339.