Stacey Cougill's picture

Basking shark

Observed: 26th May 2009 By: Stacey Cougill
Basking Shark
Description:

Photo borrowed from wikipedia, identified by it's slate grey colour and dorsal and tail fins. I didn't see the nose poke through the surface altough this is a common id feature.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

miked's picture

How big was it as they can be

How big was it as they can be huge, I have only ever seen the remains washed up on a beach.

Rose's picture

Lucky you

Lucky you visiting the isle of Harris! I have wanted to see a basking shark sine I was about 10 and we had a natural history lesson on them at school. It's on my very long list of ‘must see' species. Rose.

Rose

Martin Harvey's picture

Lucky me too!

I went on a trip to Lewis in 1976 with the Schools Hebridean Society - this organisation doesn't seem to exist any more, but it took groups of kids from all over Britain to go camping in the Hebrides. We had a superb view of a Basking Shark from a cliff-top - it was in clear water directly below the cliff. One of my all-time best wildlife experiences!
The whole trip was fantastic for wildlife, especially sea-birds (skuas, fulmars etc.) and Golden Eagles. I wrote up a short article about the butterflies and moths and was subsequently contacted by someone writing a book on the butterflies of Scotland - exciting stuff for a 14-year-old!

----
Entomologist and biological recorder

Nick Smith's picture

Schools Hebridean Society

Hi Martin, I picked up this forum post when I searched Google for the SHS. I went on 5 trips from 1972-1976 and have been scanning some old photos and slides, it got me remembering the trips to the Hebrides, great days, fantastic wildlife. I'd be interested to hear from you. (I never got to Lewis but was on Harris in 74 and on Rum when you were in Lewis).
Have a look at the link http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2191213
I've put a few photos up from that era. You can contact me through that site or here.
Nick

Stacey Cougill's picture

It's great to hear your

It's great to hear your experiences of basking sharks, thanks for sharing. I do feel very lucky to have seen it.

It was quite a grey day so we couldn't see clearly through the water, although I estimated it was 2-3 metres from the dorsal fin to the tail fin. I guess that would make it a maximum of 6 metres in length and an immature basking shark?

iSpot Biodiversity Mentor - London

trudy-russell's picture

Thats not fair I live in the

Thats not fair I live in the shark capital of england and I haven't yet seen one this year!!! at six metres that almost full grown we tend not to see sharks begger than eight metres very often. For anyone else who wants to see the sharks Im part of the seawatch southwest/cornwall wildlife trust shark survey, we are regularly found on a cliff near land end so if your ever in the area visitors are always welcome, so far this year there have been counts of up to 50 per day!

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

To find out about what's going on in the south west check out http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8409

Andrew Goodall's picture

Southwest/Cornwall Sahrk Survey

Hi Trudy

I will be walking on the coastal footpath by there in September. What are the chances of seeing Basking Shark? Or what should I be looking for on the Cornish coast at that time of year?

Regards
Andrew

burhinus

trudy-russell's picture

It depends very much on the

It depends very much on the weather, if there has been a period of warm calm sea conditions september can be a good month for shark sightings. The sharks come to the surface following plankton, if you can see what looks like slicks on the surface of the water this is where they are most likely to be seen. The seawatch south west survey runs until october so you could check on their website to see what the sightings have been like in the days leading up to your visit http://www.seawatch-sw.org/ otherwise you should be able to see grey seals and quite a range of seabirds, if your very lucky Minke whales are sometimes spotted off the far west coast.

Hope that helps Trudy

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

To find out about what's going on in the south west check out http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8409

Andrew Goodall's picture

Southwest Cornwall Shark Survey

Hi Trudy

Very helpful thanks, will be walking from Portwrinkle in south east Cornwall to Porth Curnow over a 2 week period so I will hope the weather is favourable.

Regards
Andrew

burhinus

the naturalist man's picture

Jaws!

I was on holiday on the Isle of Mann in 1976 when a basking shark decided to spend a couple of days swimming around Peel Harbour. It was the year Jaws was in the cinimas, you can imagine the local newspaper headlines!
I know I took some pictures of it but unfortunately can not find them. Also to my great regret this was the only one I've ever seen.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411