July has been a much busier month than June with only 80 stranding reports; these comprised 29 seals, 41 cetaceans.
There were eight reports of grey seals slightly less than June. Four from the east coast, two from the Western Isles (Lewis and North Uist), one from Fair Isle, and one from the north coast. None were suitable for recovery for necropsy. There were 12 reports of a harbour seals this month seven from the west coast, three from the east coast and one each from Shetland and Orkney. Most were pups. Four harbour seals, one from Shetland, two from Tiree and one from St. Andrews were thought to be grey seal predation cases. One harbour seal a pup from Loch Linnhe was recovered for necropsy. There were a further nine seals that were too decomposed or data deficient for speciation, five from the east coast, two from the west coast, one from Shetland and one from the south coast.
The cetacean stranding reports saw a big increase this month compared to the 17 in June, these comprised of seven species. The most commonly reported cetacean this month as in June was the harbour porpoise with 22 being reported. Thirteen from the east coast, four from the west coast (including Arran and Mull), three from Shetland and one each from the north coast and the Western Isles (South Uist). Four animals were recovered for necropsy and two were sampled. Thanks to Corinne Gordon, Sorcha Cantwell and Sue Edwards for collecting three of the carcases for us and Andrew Ferguson for samples.
The next most commonly reported cetaceans were minke whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins with three each reported. Two Atlantic white-sided dolphins from Shetland and one from the east coast. One of the animals from Shetland was recovered for necropsy both of the others were sampled one by Alison and Richard Riley in Shetland the other by the National Museum of Scotland on the Scottish Borders. Of the three minke whales, two were from the west coast and one was from Orkney. All were too decomposed for necropsy, however one reported as entangled and floating off Mull was sampled for us by Pippa Garrard from the HWDT.
There were two long-finned pilot whales reported both from Shetland. One found dead on Noss. The other was herded out of Vidlin Voe on the 20th of July only to re strand and die in Basta Voe on 27th. This animal was necropsied on site, and was shown to have severely dilated cerebral ventricles and an excess amount of turbid cerebral spinal fluid. A diagnosis of neurobrucellosis is suspected.
There were two reports of white beaked dolphins one from Orkney and one from the East coast this latter animal was samples by volunteers, thanks Lee and Eilidh Watson.
The remaining species were single strandings only, a common dolphin in Cromarty firth and a Risso’s dolphin in Orkney both were too decomposed for collection for necropsy.
The remaining seven cetaceans were too decomposed or data deficient to identify the species. Four from the west coast, one from the east, one from the North coast and an unidentified dolphin refloated by a member of the public in North Uist.