What an over-whale-ming season!
The 2020 season for the Hebrides Wildlife Officer has been a very different year, as I'm sure for many of you, hear about her seven months here:
I remember the day I started, 23rd March, recognise the date? The day lockdown was announced. I began my working day speaking with CalMac and many other local organisations thinking that I would be up in the Hebrides in three weeks' and able to start the programme as normal. Well seven months later and that has looked very different. I have been very fortunate to have the support of all at CalMac and have remained in contact with many colleagues throughout my time. Towards the end of the season I was able to go on a few trips and, fortunately, had the chance to see common dolphins and minke whales.
Although I have not been able to complete tasks as scheduled I have been able to get creative and write these blogs, deliver talks online, create educational resources and network to raise awareness of this programme whilst not even leaving the house. I have virtually met so many people, shared ideas and knowledge about Scottish wildlife and conservation. A particular meeting, I remember is with Amie Williams at NatureScot where we spoke for around one hour, and half of that being about cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and our best sightings! Mine of which being a pair of Northern bottlenose whales battling one another in the Bay of Biscay. Two large whales breached out the water and landed on one another creating a huge splash. These animals are in the group of beaked whales who are a very elusive group so this was an unforgettable sighting.
Considering I haven't been out as much as I planned, and the programme has been very different the seven months feel like they've flown by! As it's the end of the season it is now my time to sign off but first I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped out and been a part of what has been a wonderful season! To all the incredible people I've met (virtually and adhering to physical distancing), with whom, it has been an absolute pleasure working alongside, their dedication and enthusiasm has been truly inspiring. A huge thank you to all the incredibly hard-working people, at CalMac. And of course, a massive thank you to all the passengers and members of the public who have supported the programmes work!