Dolphins are frequently seen not far from the shores of St Monans and other East Neuk villages. Occasionally we are also lucky enough to see whales. If you see any this week – 25th July to 2nd August – you can report them as part of the UK wide 2020 National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW).
The Sea Watch Foundation is happy to get sighting reported to them anytime, but next week you can be part of the annual survey that attempts to get a snapshot of the numbers of whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK coastal waters. You can submit your sightings here and if you want help identifying what you see, there is a guide here.
Bottlenose Dolphin research by the University of St Andrews has also restarted after an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Surveys of the dolphins have been carried out between May and September each year since 1989 by the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the University of Aberdeen. Two groups were photographed in the Tay Estuary near Tayport and another group between Crail and Anstruther as part of a long-term study of the bottlenose population off the eastern Scottish coast.
Research previously has identified an expansion of the dolphins’ range from the core area in the Moray Firth in the 1990s where there is a designated Marine Protected Area, south to the Tay Estuary and around Fife. Recent years have seen an increase in sightings in the Firth of Forth and even as far south as the North East English coast this year. New research to investigate this apparent latest range expansion is being initiated this year.