Sightings galore as Hannah starts her volunteer placement
Every summer HWDT’s programmes and activities are supported by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. Without their contributions we simply couldn’t undertake as much as we do. From staffing the Discovery Centre in Tobermory, to supporting the research programme on board Silurian, to school visits; our fantastic volunteers are a key component in our operations.
One of our 2019 volunteers, Hannah Snead, has joined the Trust to gain experience and skills which will help further her career in marine biology. Below is Hannah’s account of some of the activities she’s been involved in so far…
On Thursday 11th April, during our weekly headland watch at Glengorm, we had our first headland sightings for 2019! We were lucky enough to record HWDT’s first minke whale of the season, alongside a Eurasian otter and a variety of sea birds, including gannets, guillemots and razorbills. Spotting the whale was by far the highlight of the day as it was the first time I had seen a minke! This was also the first time that I used the HWDT sightings app, Whale Track - a community sightings database where members of the public can record whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland.
We delivered two talks at Glengorm: one on cetacean identification - which gave members of the public the skills to be able to spot and identify cetaceans on their own - and another on feeding methods - using bones and teeth for demonstration. We also ran a game for kids, finding out the lengths of different cetaceans found in the Hebrides, which was fun and engaging!
Siobhan (HWDTs Whale Trail Officer) and I also spent an afternoon giving a guided walk around Duart castle, where we did another headland watch, as there were a number of harbour porpoise spotted close to the shore. All of the children were very excited and shared our enthusiasm for the cetaceans we had seen!
Since then, we have had another minke whale sighting! At the following Glengorm headland watch, we were joined by Rian (our education volunteer), a group of Scouts and a number of families when we saw the second minke whale. Everyone was lucky enough to see the minke, as it surfaced multiple times and was close enough to shore to see without binoculars!
So far it’s been a fabulous start to the season, and I’m very excited to continue our weekly headland watches at Glengorm!