Dolphinwatch returns for its seventh viewing season

RSPB Dolphinwatch Aberdeen

Thursday 11 April 2019

Dolphin and ship off Aberdeen

Dolphinwatch returns for its seventh viewing season.

Dolphinwatch returns for its seventh viewing season.

After the 100% sightings success of last season, RSPB Scotland is excited to see what 2019 has in store.

Today [12 April 2019] is the official launch of RSPB Dolphinwatch’s 2019 dolphin viewing at Torry Battery in Aberdeen with slightly different hours than previous years and a brand-new ‘silver’ dolphin badge to celebrate.

Following the success of last year, when dolphins, whales or porpoises were spotted on every day the team were on site, the Dolphinwatch 2019 team of staff and volunteers are excited to find out what this viewing season will bring.

Last year, visitors to Dolphinwatch experienced the wonder of watching pods of more than 30 dolphins feeding, breaching and bow riding of boats in Aberdeen harbour, the awe of three minke whales leisurely swimming by and the excitement of spotting a humpback whale barrel roll in the distance.

Dolphinwatch is funded by ScottishPower Foundation and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Project, which is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) aims to showcase the amazing bottlenose dolphins seen regularly from Torry Battery, while enthusing visitors to take action to help protect the marine environment.

Emily Burton, Dolphinwatch Visitor Experience Officer said: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to run Dolphinwatch viewing this year and hope we have some amazing sightings like last year. I would love to see a humpback whale! But the thrill of seeing bottlenose dolphins so close from land never gets old and I still get just as excited as if it were for the first time. I can’t wait to help others experience this spectacle for what could be their first or 100th time and hope to help inspire people to take action to help protect marine wildlife”

Dolphinwatch viewing will take place every Thursday to Sunday until 18 August. Equipped with binoculars and telescopes, provided by Viking Optical, and plenty of activities and expertise, the Dolphinwatch team will help visitors learn more about marine wildlife and experience the natural spectacle of bottlenose dolphins seen from Torry Battery.

The 2019 viewing season differs from previous years with a slightly shorter viewing time from 11am – 5pm as in previous years the final hour between 5 and 6 pm has brought fewer visitors.  

This season also sees the reveal of a brand-new dolphin pin badge with limited edition backing card. Offered only from the Dolphinwatch team at viewing and local events for now, these new pins represent the success the project has had over the past seven years.

Emily adds: “I’m looking forward to planning lots of events this season and having that bit of extra time to prepare for them. I hope it will help me make them even better so visitors can get more engaged with the incredible marine environment we are lucky to see right here in Aberdeen city. I already know there will be lots of opportunities for rockpooling and I think I’ll bring back the Marine Mammal Madness event, but beyond that, there’s plenty of opportunities to try new ideas, which is very exciting.”

The Dolphinwatch team run regular beach cleans at Torry Beach and Aberdeen Beach, working with a range of partners including Aberdeen City Council and Surfers Against Sewage. The most successful clean to date was in January with more 150 people volunteering and collecting over 90 bags of rubbish in less than two hours.

Aberdeen City Council’s Operational Delivery Convener Councillor John Wheeler said: “It’s fantastic that Dolphinwatch is starting for another year as it’s one of the most popular events on the city’s calendar. We’re so lucky to be able to view dolphins from the shore here in Aberdeen and I’m looking forward to going to historic Torry Battery and seeing them for myself, with the expert help of the volunteers and RSPB Scotland staff.”

The Dolphinwatch project is only possible thanks to support from a dedicated team of volunteers. They support the team at Torry Battery by providing fantastic customer care for visitors, helping with school visits, sharing their passion for marine wildlife and running beach cleans, which are only successful thanks to the many people who give up their time to help keep the beaches safe and clean for people and wildlife.

Dolphinwatch volunteers are also given the opportunity to contribute to scientific data collection by being trained in species identification and surveying as part of Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s (WDC) Shorewatch programme which monitors the presence of whales, dolphins and porpoises in order to protect them. Katie Dyke, WDC Policy Officer, said “It’s great to be working with RSPB Dolphinwatch once again this year. WDC Shorewatch trained this year’s Dolphinwatch volunteers in how to collect meaningful data from the site and how to identify the wide range of species that can be seen across Scotland. There was a great buzz to the training session and I am sure everyone involved will be in for yet again another exciting year.”

This year, the launch of Dolphinwatch viewing provides a prelude to the much-anticipated DolphinFest, the first-ever dolphin festival in Aberdeen, taking place 25-28 April. With guest speakers, film screenings, family fun and games, an escape room, inflatable roadshow and dolphin rescue demonstrations, DolphinFest aims to bring Dolphinwatch to the city and reach even more people to engage them with the amazing marine life seen around Aberdeen. The Dolphinwatch team will be onsite at Torry Battery during the festival keeping everyone updated with sightings and providing binoculars, scopes, information and activities.

There are also still opportunities for schools to participate in the Dolphinwatch School Programme which aims to introduce local schoolchildren to the wonders of the local marine environment and hopes to spark a love of wildlife which will resonate for years to come.

Email dolphinwatch@rspb.org.uk, call 01224 624824 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/dolphinwatch for information and keep up to date with all aspects of the project at facebook.com/RSPBNorthEastScotland or twitter.com/RSPB_NEScotland (#RSPBDolphinwatch; #DolphinsABDN; #DolphinFest).

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Last Updated: Thursday 11 April 2019

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