‘missing’ Moray Firth Dolphin sets up home on island

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In September 2019 a Bottlenose dolphin calf was born in a bay on the south east of the Isle of Man.

Since then, our community has been blessed with wonderful, frequent sightings of this mother and juvenile bottlenose dolphin. Now, in July 2020, Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch are compiling all sightings, photographs and video in one place, as we continue to document this pair over the weeks and months. Sightings are being plotted using QGIS and we will be looking into tidal states, water depth, feeding behaviour and potential prey species.

See the website here mwdwresidentbottlenose.weebly.com

On 22nd July we received some unbelievably exiting news. Following a post and link to this website on a marine mammal science mailing list, we heard from Barbara Cheney from the University of Aberdeen Lighthouse Field Station who told us she recognises the mother dolphin. She has two very distinct notches at the top of her dorsal  fin which means she can be recognised in Photo-ID catalogues. Upon sharing some high quality images, Barbara and MWDW can confirm she is definitely the same dolphin, known as Moonlight. She is part of the resident Moray Firth population of bottlenose dolphins and has been seen there each year since 1996!. She, and a group of others left the Moray Firth in 2018 and were spotted off the top of Scotland, with some continuing to Ireland and even over to the Netherlands! Most of the dolphins returned to the Firth last year, excluding Moonlight and a few others. Deemed ‘missing’, it is terribly exciting to discover that she has actually been residing on the Isle of Man for at least the last 11 months.


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