Interesting fact: This rare UK visitor enjoys deep, warm waters
Sowerby’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon bidens
Length: Around 5 metres long
Features/body type: Slim body with a little head
Fin: Fin is pointed or slightly angular/hooked
Appearance: Deep grey colour body
Threats: Ship collisions, plastic pollutants
Useful fact: Male sowerbys have two outward pointing teeth on their jaw
Spot them for yourself
From Land’s End in England’s far south to the Orkneys off the coast of northern Scotland, here are seven go-to destinations renowned for both on and off-land whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings.
The Islands of Northern Scotland
Some of the most spectacular whales and dolphins mentioned in our guide can be found off the coast of Orkney and Shetland. Keep an eye out for risso’s dolphin, minke wales and even awe-inspiring orcas throwing their prey up in the air. Take a NorthLink Ferry from Scotland’s mainland to reach Shetland and Orkney’s marine mammal hotspots.
Cardigan Bay, Wales
Bottlenose dolphins form one of Cardigan Bay’s so-called ‘big three’, along with harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals, and hence this area of Wales is a hotspot for catching a glimpse of these acrobatic mammals. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales works closely with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips offering an eco-tourism tour led by experts in the field.
Head to Anglesey’s Point Lynas and Puffin Island for a dolphin watching session. Seacoast Safaris dock at the historic town of Beaumaris in Anglesey and with a range of cruising times.
Land’s End Peninsula and St Ives Bay, Cornwall
For those after nearshore sightings, The Sea Watch Foundation recommends headlands and bays as the place to be. Hence, it’s no surprise that Cornwall’s Land’s End Peninsula and St Ives Bay are ideal for spotting bottlenoses. In fact, this region boasts England’s only resident population of bottlenose dolphins.
Torry Battery, Aberdeenshire
If it’s a humpback sighting you’re looking for, then a trip to Aberdeen is a top spot. There’s parking at the site: AB11 9DA
This year, the little village of Bispham, Blackpool was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of bottlenoses. Why not take a visit – you might have a lucky encounter too.
Berry Head and Dartmouth, Devon
Large groups of common dolphins can be observed from the iconic coastal headland of Berry Head in Devon. For those wishing to be closer to the water, head further south to Dartmouth for a historic, wildlife-enriched tour. The Dartmouth coastal cruise is one hour long and offers the possibility of dolphin sightings.