2011 was a good year for whale and dolphin sightings according to figures from The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, with 696 sightings reported in 2011 compared to 482 in 2010.
Most spotted was the harbour porpoises with 299 confirmed sightings. This was followed by bottlenose dolphins, with 109 sightings, and minke whales, with 100 sightings.
More unusual finds include a leatherback turtle which was seen by volunteers crossing the Minch and a sperm whale in the Sound of Raasay.
Unfortunately there where also a number of strandings in 2011. This includes the 70 pilot whales reported in July at risk of mass stranding. Medics fought to save as many as possible in difficult conditions and thanks to their hard work some where saved.
The trust rely on the public so please report your sightings to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust using their online sightings form which can be found at; http://www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk/sightings-report-a-sighting.asp
Training courses are also to all members of the public which teach techniques to assist in marine mammal strandings. More information on this can be found at; http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/training-new/catalog/