Dolphinwatch is back for 2018 and it's even bigger than before thanks to some new funders. RSPB Scotland's Adam Ross fills us in on the project. 

Dolphin watching in Aberdeen


Dolphins might not be the first things that spring to mind when people think of RSPB Scotland but, honestly, who could resist those smiles? The bottlenose dolphins which frequent Aberdeen harbour are fantastic indicators of ecosystem health and are a great entry point for discussing marine habitats with the public. The dolphins’ preferred feeding ground at the mouth of the River Dee provides a fantastic mix of freshwater and saltwater prey, not to mention a perfect viewing spot in the form of the historic Torry Battery.

In the summer you’ll find a small army of dolphinwatchers plonked down on the grassy verge, binoculars in hand, hoping to encounter one of the greatest wildlife spectacles around. Expect gravity-defying leaps, playful tail-slapping and, if you cheer loud enough, a little bit of salmon-juggling. And even if the dolphins are busy elsewhere there’s always something new to keep you entertained, whether it’s the nearby sand martin colony, the local celebrity kestrel or a self-conscious seal wondering why everyone’s staring at him. We also offer rockpooling sessions, beach cleans, family activity packs, limpet-stacking competitions and much more!

We’ve been monitoring dolphins here (in partnership with Whale & Dolphin Conservation) and engaging the public for the last five years and we’re now delighted to be expanding our work to include a brand new marine-themed schools programme, informative videos and more community events including a small festival 2019. This is all thanks to new funding from the ScottishPower Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Unfortunately many of our beloved seafaring species, from dolphins through to kittiwakes are under threat. Science, including studies pioneered by the RSPB, are revealing more and more about how the effects of climate change and pollution are threatening marine wildlife, from cetaceans to seabirds. The added risk of fishing net entanglement and offshore development continue to put species under pressure but it’s heartening to see the levels of support and passion for nature that we witness in this amazing little corner of Aberdeen. By raising awareness and encouraging action, Dolphinwatch is helping to protect our seas.

Dolphinwatch will run at Torry Battery from 10 May til 20 August every Thursday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (weather permitting).

Dolphinwatch is a ScottishPower Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded project led by RSPB Scotland in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and the Aberdeen Harbour Board.

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