Operation dolphin watch

WILDLIFE watchers are wanted this spring and early summer to observe dolphins in the sea off Durlston Country Park.

Marine watchers will be looking out for behaviours including breeching, tail slapping, station keeping and leaping as part of a project to help understand what marine mammals do off Durlston.

The research will employ an ‘intelligent cetacean recorder’ which will record the acoustics of passing cetaceans including dolphins, porpoises and toothed whales.

The echolocation sounds the device captures could be associated with the creatures searching and hunting for prey, navigating and orientating themselves in the sea, social interaction and even defensive or territorial behaviour.

The device will probably be recovered by the end of June and then its data will be analysed.

Durlston Country Park and Dorset Wildlife Trust are seeking the marine watchers who will also be recording other data such as the numbers observed, the presence or absence of marine traffic, the weather conditions and more.

Countryside ranger (Durlston) Paul Jones said: “It would be helpful if you have your own binoculars, while a camera with a zoom lens could be an excellent tool.

“Observation would be while patrolling or positioned on the coast path between Durlston Head and Tilly Whim.
“Less mobile watchers could be stationed at or near Durlston Castle, while we also have a dolphin watch shelter on the coast path itself.

“The acoustic device is not designed to attract dolphins, so we do not guarantee that as Durlston marine watcher that you will get to see any marine mammals, but at least there should be seabirds!”

Training can be provided and if enough volunteers come forward a rota may be created to maximise effectiveness and coverage.

Anyone interested in becoming a temporary Durlston marine watcher should email

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