National Whale and Dolphin Watch takes place from July 27-29 and anyone in Dumfries and Galloway can join in.
There are organised land watches taking place in the region, or anyone by the coast can watch by themselves and send in their sightings.
Not only are marine mammals important for the marine ecosystem to function adequately, but they are important also for the local economy, bringing in revenue from responsible eco-tourism.
The National Whale and Dolphin Watch – hosted by the marine research charity Sea Watch and sponsored by BG – is now in its 11th year, and offers an opportunity for the public to take part in monitoring the whales, dolphins and porpoises around the UK shores.
To join land watches, details are available at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk. Organisations and boat operators across Scotland are taking part, including the Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre.
In Dumfries and Galloway join: Ivan Felton-Glenn at Balcary Bay, July 27, noon-1pm; July 28, noon-1pm; July 29: 10am-2pm (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). Or Mark Pollit at Whithorn, July 29, 10am-2pm (contact Mark Pollitt on 01387 760274 or email@example.com).
As well as joining Ivan or Mike, you can also take part by yourself – simply pick a spot on the coast, grab your binoculars, download some sightings forms from the Sea Watch website and look out and record any dolphins, porpoises or whales you see.
The species most likely to see in Dumfries and Galloway are harbour porpoise, short-beaked common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and minke whale. Recent sightings included a large pod of harbour porpoise off Southerness.
The information gathered during the watch feeds into a growing bank of information about the 29 species of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – which have been known to visit our shores. The knowledge gained brings with it a better understanding of species’ movements, their distribution and the health of populations – helping to develop effective conservation policies.