September 25, 2021   •  
Bottlenose dolphin


Watch our two videos:

Shorewatch video How to take part in a Shorewatch

How to record your data.


Pdf downloadPlease download our information sheets on locations, sightings forms and advice for when you take part in a Shorewatch.


NewsletterKeep up-to-date with the latest news from Shorewatch with our newsletters.


The visibility must be recorded during every Shorewatch because it affects the probability of a sighting. For this reason Shorewatch is not carried out in ‘bad’ visibility of less than 1 km*.

On a clear day when the visibility is excellent you will be able to see greater distances, increasing the chance of spotting a cetacean during your watch and vice-versa in bad visibility. Visibility is assessed based on how far you can see in relation to places and distances. Each location will have its own WDC Shorewatch Visibility Key which outlines appropriate distances and local landmarks.

Using your eyes only assess the visibility based on the specific locations in your site’s visibility key. Record your final assessment of the visibility using the appropriate code in your key, from 1 (Bad) to 6 (Excellent). Mark this in the visibility column on your data sheet before beginning your 10-minute Shorewatch.

Shorewatch visibility data

Spey Bay: WDC Shorewatch Visibility Key with visibility codes, distances and local landmarks.

Input Code Distance Description
1 <1 km Bad: Cannot see to Kingston : Do not carry out a shore-watch.
2 1-5 km Poor: Can see to Kingston in the west. Can see up to Portgordon in the east but no further. N.B. Portgordon is around 5km away.
3 6-10 km Moderate: Can see Buckie in the east.
4 11-15 km Good: Can see Lossiemouth in the west and will see past Buckie and may just be able to see Bow fiddle rock in the east.
5 16-20 km Very Good: Clearly see bow-fiddle rock in the east, past Lossiemouth in the west.
6 >20km Excellent: Clear day. May be able to see other side of the firth.

Spey Bay: Satellite view of Shorewatch site with visibility points and associated visibility codes.

Satellite view of Shorewatch site

Downloadable PDFs of the WDC Shorewatch Visibility Key: