If this is your first time contributing to ECOPredS, we would first ask you to please read the participant information and consent form. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that you are happy with those points in the consent form that apply to you: A) all participants, B) photo/ videographers, C) qualified volunteer drone pilots. We will then get back to you with a debrief, and respond to any questions that you may have.
To submit data to us via a direct message – such as through our Facebook page or email – please copy the standardized format from the table below and paste it to the message. Then, fill in the data following a space after each capitalized data field (e.g., LOCATION). Feel free to leave fields empty. Please see next page for the description of each data field, and the last page for an example WhatsApp message.
- Seal species identification is challenging and sometimes not possible, e.g., due to the animals’ distance or their behaviour. Make sure you know the differences (SMRU ID guide here), take photos and check your ID with others. It is better to report species unknown (UK) than guess the species that you are unsure about!
- Zeros are just as important a number than any count. Please keep checking your regular site at all different times of day, tide and weather, and report all counts, whether they are zeros, small or large numbers.
- Seal pups are defined as less than 3 months old, and so because harbour seals pup in the summer (June-July), and grey seals in the winter (Oct-Nov), there should only be pups from species at one time
- Never disturb wildlife – keep your distance, use binoculars, minimize noise, and leave the animals at the first sign of disturbance. Know the signs; seals can be particularly vulnerable while resting on land. To learn more, see the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code.
|Harbour seal (PV) and grey seal (HG) monitoring:||Orca and other cetacean sightings:|
OBS observer name (not compulsory)
DATE date and month, dd/mm
LOCATION name of the location, e.g., Stenness – if new location, provide lat-lon in comments
START start time in 24-hr clock, hh:mm
FINISH end time in 24-hr clock, hh:mm
TOTAL-HAULED Total number of seals hauled out, include both species
TOTAL-SWIM Total number of seals swimming/bottling in the water, include both species
PV-ADULT-H Total number of adult harbour seals (PV = Phoca vitulina) hauled out (=H) (total including mums)
PV-PUP-H Total number of pup harbour seals hauled out (total number, including pups with mums)
PV-MUM-PUP-H Number of Pv mum-pup pairs hauled out (e.g., 1 – one pair, 2 – two pairs)
HG-ADULT-H Total number of adult grey seals (HG = Halichoerus grypus) hauled out
HG-PUP-H Total number of pup grey seals hauled out
HG-MUM-PUP-H Number of Hg mum-pup pairs hauled out
UK-ADULT-H Total number of adults of unknown species (=UK) hauled out
UK-PUP-H Total number of pups of unknown species hauled out
PV-ADULT-S Total number of adult harbour seals swimming/bottling (=S)
PV-PUP-S Total number of pup harbour seals swimming/bottling
PV-MUM-PUP-S Number of Pv mum-pup pairs swimming/bottling
HG-ADULT-S Total number of adult grey seals swimming/bottling
HG-PUP-S Total number of pup grey seals swimming/bottling
HG-MUM-PUP-S Number of Hg mum-pup pairs swimming/bottling
UK-ADULT-S Total number of adults of unknown species swimming/bottling
UK-PUP-S Total number of pups of unknown species swimming/bottling
SEASTATE Beaufort sea state: 0=mirror calm; 1= slight ripples, no foam crests; 2 = small wavelets, glassy crests, but no whitecaps; 3= large wavelets, crests begin to break, few whitecaps; 4=longer waves, many whitecaps, 5= moderate waves of longer form, some spray, 6 and over =large waves, whitecaps everywhere, frequent spray
SWELL Swell height in metres (e.g., 0, 0.2, 0.8, 1)
VISIBILITY Poor, medium, good, very good. P: <1km; M: 1-5km; G: 6-10km; VG: >10km
CLOUD Cloud cover in percentage
WEATHER Describe weather, e.g., cloudy windy
VESSEL-M Number of vessels _moving_ by motor, such as a fishing boat
VESSEL-NM Number of vessels _moving_ without a motor, such as a SUP, kayak
SP-POD Species (e.g., orca, harbour porpoise) and pod, if known (e.g., 27s)
GR-NUM Total number of animals in the group
MALE Number of animals thought to be male, with tall dorsal fin
CALF Number of calves (yellow and/or foetal folds)
RANGE The closest distance between yourself and the whales, in metres (e.g., 2000 m)
DIST-SHORE The closest distance between the whales and the shore, in metres
DIRECTION If swimming in a consistent direction, note direction of travel (e.g., north-east NE)
BEHAV Behaviour category: transit, shore-hugging, approaching prey, capturing prey
COMMENTS Any additional thoughts or comments, including seal species id, tide state, potential human disturbance (boats moving or pedestrians near the seals). Please make a note if you see any aggressive interactions between seals (e.g., grey seal harassing another), other species interactions (e.g., sea birds harassing seals), or sight any other marine mammals, including otters.