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Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

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