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Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Gulf of California.

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...
Two beautiful Hector's dolphins leap just off new Zealand's coast.

Progress for our campaign as New Zealand takes action to protect dolphins from fishing nets

Following our long-running campaign to save endangered Hector's dolphins, the New Zealand government has announced...

COP26: Did we persuade world leaders to listen to the ocean?

As the dust settles after the United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow, it's a...
Artist impression Ramiri's beaked whale

New whale species found

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
This dolphin was trapped in a plastic ring but, thankfully, successfully freed. Photograph was taken by Q. Gibson, University of North Florida, under the authority of NMFS LOC No. 14157

To save whales, dolphins and the world, we need a global treaty on plastic pollution

Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the environment every year impacting ecosystems and species. Plastic...
Humpback whale Salt with her calf

A humpback whale teacher named Salt who helps keep you and me alive

Salt is a remarkable whale. In fact she's probably the most famous humpback whale in...
Blue whale (balaenoptera musculus) A blue whale tail at sunset. Gulf of California.

Whales, trees and butterflies – how we’re giving a voice to the ocean at COP26

I'm in Glasgow representing WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation at COP26, the UN's 26th climate...
Save the whale. Save the world

Green whale – will whale poo help save whales?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Did you know that whales...

When is the best time to see dolphins in Scotland?

A question that our staff and volunteers are asked hundreds of times a year is the “When is the best time to see dolphins?” There is not a hard and fast rule to this as the dolphins are resident in the Moray Firth and North East Scotland and can technically be watched all year round – if you know where to go…
 photo Land Watching 2.jpg
The photo above shows people standing on the shore watching a young dolphin breaching only a few metres away at possibly THE most famous place in the UK for land-based dolphin watching – Chanonry Point on the Black Isle near Inverness. For watching dolphins here you need to know a few things…what the tides are doing and also, to a lesser extent what the moon phase is. The dolphins hunt for migrating salmon during the spring and summer and this hunting takes place in conjunction mainly on a rising (or flooding) tide so finding when the tide is rising helps a great deal.

Remember that there are four, six hour tidal sequences every day, two rising and two falling (ebbing) making up the twenty four hour day so technically you can have two good opportunities every day for dolphin watching although the tides advance by around forty minutes every day so the actual period (morning, afternoon or evening) for land watching can be different. For tide times I tend to recommend Admiralty Easy Tide who give a weeks tides for free: but remember to add one hour during the summer for British Summer Time, something that many people forget about. If you try to be at Chanonry for about low tide just as the tide start to rise then you will not go far wrong – sometimes dolphins will be there already, sometimes they make us wait for a while.

For land watching at our Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, the tide state doesn’t really apply here so better to contact us directly. Boat watching for dolphins is not normally tide dependent as boats are mobile and can move around set routes and encounter dolphins in transit. There is a list of accredited dolphin and wildlife watching boat operators  –  or have a look on a new website  which has a lot of useful information. Happy Watching!

About Charlie Phillips

Field officer - Adopt a Dolphin