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The Gairloch Chandlery, Pier Road, Gairloch, Wester Ross, Scotland

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August wildlife sightings from Nick Davies and other news from Hebridean Whale Cruises.

Bottlenose Back in Numbers

15 August 2008

The 10th saw about 20 of these huge and endangered dolphins make a brief visit to Loch Gairloch.

I was a bit concerned as they were fighting - couldn't really tell what was going on in the melee but I did see a very small calf jump out of it on two occasions. I hope it wasn't infanticide happening in front of us.

It is thought that, just like lions, if a new dominant bull takes over the pod then it tries to kill the calves so the cows will come into season again.

On a brighter note James spotted a very early Sabine's Gull on Rona Bank. I also encountered it on two occasions feeding with Kittiwakes. It was starting to lose its head colouring indicating that this was a failed breeder.

Lots of European Storm Petrels on most cruises. It'll soon be time for the chum to come out - fingers crossed for some strong storms in the north east Atlantic.

Big 5 with a Bang

9 August 2008

Our second Big 5 cruise started with a bang with a Fin Whale and a Minke Whale lunge feeding in the same area.

Every time I've encountered the Fin Whale it has Common Terns as the primary associated sea bird, indicating this animal is predominantly surface-feeding for small sandeel as the Terns can't manage much more than a plunge.

White-tailed Eagle July 2008

Then down to the cliffs near Portree and we were treated to an adult White-tailed Eagle (pictured) taking a fish from the surface 20ft in front of the boat! (nearly got the shot of a lifetime!).

Our two hour cruises have been finding loads of recently-fledged Puffins, which is great news as I think they were not very successful last year.

Basking Shark sightings have been sporadic until last night when both our boats encountered sharks well offshore, north of Rona Bank.

Yesterday we had our first (and very late) sighting of a Pomarine Skua. It was an adult dark phase flying fast to the north east just off the north end of Skye.

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