MARINElife Southwest Sightings Project

Common Dolphin Adrian Shephard 10

Approximately 17 different species of cetaceans are known to frequent the waters of South West England. Some are resident all year round, whilst others are annual visitors, or rarities. The most common species are the bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins, which travel up and down the coastline of Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset. Further out to sea, more enigmatic species have been encountered, such as the instantly recognisable orca (killer whales), diving sperm whales, and even fin whales (the second largest cetacean, and mammal, in the world).

Razorbill Adrian Shephard 01

Seabirds are also plentiful in the South West's coastal waters. Cormorants, gannets, fulmars, auks (razorbills, guillemots, and puffins), and various types of gulls, all use these waters to feed and breed, along with many other species.

With all this biodiversity on our doorstep, it's important to monitor these species. With this in mind, we have re-launched our Southwest Sightings Project, with an aim to gather public sightings of cetaceans and seabirds from around the coast of Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall.

If you have any cetacean/seabird sightings, please email The details we need are date, time, location (preferably GPS coordinates if possible), species, number of individuals, and any young seen.

Photos (and/or videos) are extremely useful. They allow us to confirm the species, and conduct photo-identification on the individuals seen. But please do still let us know of any sightings you've also had without photos.

You can find more information on Britain's cetacean species here, & a more comprehensive list of seabird species can be found here.

To keep up to date on sightings from around the South West of England please visit our dedicated Facebook page or our Sightings page.