Dolphin watch returns to Shoreham Beach

Bottlenose dolphins are Biodiversity Action Plan species because there is concern about falling populations
Bottlenose dolphins are Biodiversity Action Plan species because there is concern about falling populations

Join marine biologist Steve Savage on Shoreham Beach for a National Whale and Dolphin Watch event.

The annual watch, organised by the Sea Watch Foundation, encourages people to visit the coast and keep an eye out for whales, dolphins and porpoise around the country.

Seals are sometimes seen from the beach and in the Adur Estuary each year. Picture: Steve Savage

Seals are sometimes seen from the beach and in the Adur Estuary each year. Picture: Steve Savage

The watch runs from Saturday to next Sunday and Shoreham Beach has its own special event planned for Saturday, July 30, as part of it.

Steve, regional co-ordinator said: “The National Whale and Dolphin Watch provides a valuable annual snapshot of sea mammal activity across the 35 UK regional groups and is part of the foundation’s ongoing observation programme to survey and protect UK dolphins and whales, which number a surprising 29 species.

“On a local level, the public are invited to come along and take part in a guided watch at Shoreham.

“The regional group co-ordinates volunteers who undertake timed watches periodically to help build up our local knowledge and this event will be a great opportunity for the public to find out who we are, what we do and the species we see off the Sussex coast, including at Shoreham. This also includes the seals that are sometimes seen from the beach and in the Adur Estuary each year.”

Steve, education co-ordinator for the Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve, is keen to share his local knowledge. This watch is being run in partnership with the Friends of Shoreham Beach and is one of the events funded through Awards for All Heritage Lottery funding.

Steve added: “The species we see most frequently off Sussex is the bottlenose dolphin, which may swim as close as 100m from the shore. In 2014 and 2015, we had several observations of a group of about 30 adult dolphins, which also included juvenile dolphins. They were seen off the coast at Bognor Regis, Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton.”

The organised watch will take place by Shoreham Fort from 10am to 1pm and people can drop in at any time.

The group will also record marine bird activity and any other marine life.

Weather permitting, there will also be some children’s activities at 11am, when children can discover more about whales and dolphins, including measuring the size of a blue whale.

Steve said: “Bottlenose dolphins and common seals are Biodiversity Action Plan species because there is concern about falling populations.

“Common dolphins have also been seen more frequently off Sussex in recent years, in fact a common dolphin actually swam into Shoreham Harbour a couple of years ago.”

Email seawatch17@yahoo.co.uk to report sea mammal sightings at any time of the year.

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