IT’S the perfect time of year for a stroll along the beach or a relaxing boat ride a long the Firth of Forth.
Thousands flock to the Scottish Seabird Centre every year to embark on catamaran cruises to take in the beautiful scenery and to be in with a chance of spotting marine life around some of the islands.
And over the last few weeks, there has never been a better time to take to the water – as dozens of dolphins have been sighted off the Lothian coast
It is believed they have been flocking to the area following food, and have been spotted leaping their way past Edinburgh and playing in the boat waves at North Berwick.
Caroline Doran, boat office manager at the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “We have definitely noticed an increase in the number of dolphin and porpoise sightings in the last few weeks.
“Passengers out on the catamaran and RIB (rigid inflatable boat) trips have been incredibly lucky to have dolphins swimming up to the boats to play.
“We wish we could guarantee sightings, but we can’t – it is just luck, but wonderful when it happens.
“The skippers let us know so we can alert the Seabird Centre and visitors around the North Berwick harbour area, so that we can all enjoy seeing them.”
The majority of dolphins prefer the warmer waters of the tropic zones, but some, like the right whale dolphin, prefer colder climates.
They enjoy eating small schools of fish, and the Seabird Centre believe this could be the main reason they have been seen so much around Edinburgh and East Lothian.
Staff at the Seabird Centre are encouraging any locals or tourists to report any dolphin sightings due to the amount of vital research that is being done surrounding the creatures.
Alex Turnbull, Discovery Centre manager, said: “The marine wildlife off the East Lothian coastline is really amazing.
“When we are notified by the boat team, we can use our interactive live cameras, enabling visitors to the Discovery Centre to zoom in on the live action.
“We have certainly seen an increase in the number of sightings, compared to last year, and between the cameras on the Bass Rock, Craigleith and Fidra we can generally follow them for quite a while.
“They are inquisitive creatures, which is why they venture close to the boats – they love to see what’s going on.
“It is really important to report any sightings as there is a lot of vital research and conservation work taking place, all around Scotland.
“It is even possible to identify individuals from good photos of their dorsal fins, so please share your photos and sightings with us, the Sea Watch Foundation or Whale and Dolphin Conservation.”
Earlier this year, we also reported an increase in the number of whale sightings on the Firth of Forth after one man captured one leaping out of the water.
It is believed they are following prey into the area.