The species of cetacean sighted should be recorded for every sighting. Try to identify the species of the animal, using the simple identification cues and species descriptions. To help with this you can make notes/sketches of key features/cues on the back of the data sheet as you watch. Record the species of the animals using the species codes listed below in the species column on your data sheet.
Record confidence of your species ID; note down the cues that you used to ID the animal(s) as we will use these to verify the sightings; try to record at least one level of identification at 100%. Are you 100% confident that you saw a minke whale? Or 100% certain that it was a whale and 50% certain that it was a minke? Note: As a rule of thumb, if you can note down 3 or more identifying features (blow shape, dorsal fin location, size, colour etc.), you can be fairly confident of your observation. If you can note down 1-2 identifying features you might be 50-75% confident. For example, if you can determine that the animal is a dolphin but are not certain of the species, record this as: dolphin (large fin half way along back) - 100% and BND (uniform grey, beak present) - 75%.
|WSD||Atlantic white-sided dolphin|
|WBD||White beaked dolphin|
Identifying non cetacean species
If you see other wildlife during your Shorewatch such as seals, basking sharks or interesting birds you can record these in the notes section on the front of the data sheet (effort data). If you think it is interesting, tell us about it!