HARBOUR PORPOISE(Phocoena phocoena)

The smallest yet most abundant species of cetacean to be found in our coastal waters reaching lengths of 1.5m (5ft). They are sighted almost anywhere from harbours, estuaries and off headlands as well as offshore. They have blunt heads with a small beak, a very small triangular fin and are grey in colour. They are usually seen in small groups of 2-6 animals but larger groups are often. We see porpoises on most of our trips.

BASKING SHARKS(Cetorhinus maximus)

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world. Adults can reach lengths of 12m (40ft), a size exceeded only by the tropical whale shark which reaches lengths of 18 m (60ft). In local waters, juveniles at an average length of 6 m (20ft) are more usually seen.

Despite its size, the basking shark is a harmless plankton feeder and we often see them swimming at the surface with their mouths open as they sieve the plankton from the water. Very little is actually known about the biology and behaviour of basking sharks.

COMMON & GREY SEALS

Only two species of seal inhabit the British coastline, the common seal Phoca vitulina and the grey seal Halichoerus grypus. Grey seals are larger than common seals reaching lengths of 2.2m (7ft) compared to the common seal length of 1.8m (6ft) and their head shapes differ slightly with the grey seals having a more roman shaped nose.

Their pupping times differ too with common seals having their young in the months of May through to July whereas the grey seals have their young later in the year from September to December. The distinctive fluffy white pups seen in many photographs are grey seal pups.

SEABIRDS

The different species of seabird that are encountered during our trips are far too numerous to list individually but include the puffin, guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake, herring gull, gannet, Manx shearwater, storm petrel, arctic and great skua, amongst others. Simply thousands of these birds can be sighted in one day

 

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Shark Watch Isle of Mull Scotland