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By Dylan Walker and Alex Wilson

Many people think to see whales and dolphins in the wild it is necessary to travel to the USA, Australia, South Africa when we have fantastic sightings locally every year around our coastline. Dylan Walker and Alex Wilson have put together the first guide to whales and dolphins found in British waters.

This comprehensive guide to the whales, dolphins and porpoises of Great Britain. Section one introduces the 17 most commonly sighted species of cetacean, giving details on identification, behaviour, distribution and recommended hotspots to see them. Each species account is accompanied by a photographic plate depicting animals as they are seen at the surface. The bulk of the book describes where to see cetaceans around Great Britain – from land, from whale and dolphin watching boats, and from ferries. The text gives every detail a reader would need to book a trip, from which species are likely when, to how to get there and what photographic opportunities are available. The result is a must-have guide for anybody with an interest in cetaceans and whale and dolphin watching.

This book will also appeal to people who had no idea that they could go whale watching from our shores, by bringing together a wealth of information on the many and varied options available in one concise guide.
The book is heavily illustrated with stunning colour photography and is 100 pages long, providing the amateur and professional naturalist with an insight into these magnificent creatures who spend time in British waters. The book also contains a useful guide to photographing these animals in the wild.

The book includes a foreword by Pete Macdonald from the Friend’s of the Moray Firth Dolphins,

Whales and Dolphins of Great Britain is packed with information you can’t go dolphin or whale watching without

Pete Macdonald

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Dylan Walker

Dylan Walker was travelling onboard a ferry off Scotland when a Minke Whale popped up right in front of him. It was a moment that changed his life. Since then he has sought to find whales, dolphins and porpoises (otherwise known as cetaceans) the length a breadth of Britain. As a marine mammal observer for the joint nature conservation committee (JNCC), Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) and Organisation Cetacea (ORCA) he has travelled throughout our seas, observing 13 species of cetaceans along the way. Dylan is a renowned wildlife tour guide, author and conservationist.
Dylan currently works as CEO for the secretariat of the World Cetacean Alliance, a partnership of over 70 non-profit organisations, whale and dolphin watching tour operators and individuals in 35 countries worldwide, which oversees the Whale Heritage Sites programme. As a scientist and conservationist, Dylan has worked with the whale watching industry across Europe, Latin America and North America for 20 years, and has written several books on cetaceans. He is also co-founder of WhaleFest, the world’s largest celebration of whales and dolphins.

Alex Wilson

Alex Wilson has been interested in whales and dolphins all of his life and between 1999 and 2007 he was part of Drs Wally and Trish Franklin’s Oceania Project research team in Hervey Bay in Queensland studying the humpback whales on their southern migration. Alex also spent time with Drs Vic Cockroft and Debbie Young at the Centre for Dolphin Studies in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa studying the common bottlenose dolphins resident to the area. Alex was also a volunteer with the Marine Connection and served as a trustee with ORCA (Organisation Cetacea). Today Alex works with a different type of animal the domesticated dog and is a dog trainer and Tellington TTouch practitioner. He spends much of his time teaching about handling reactive dogs, he hopes to return to Australia at some point to catch up with the humpback whales.


Dylan Walker has become well known as the co-author of the popular “Whales and Dolphins of the European Atlantic”, a photographic guide to European Atlantic Cetaceans and a corresponding guide to the American Pacific cetaceans. In this guide, he and co-author Alex Wilson focus on the British species to produce a guide to all our regularly seen species of whales, dolphins and porpoises combined with a directory of whale-watching resources.

After an introduction and some tips on how to observe these marine mammals, the first section is a field guide. It provides information on identification, behaviour, distribution and habitat as well as recommendations on the best places to encounter each species. The facing page presents a series of photographs illustrating each species as it is seen in real life.

The remaining 45 pages are a critical compilation of whale-watching venues and tours throughout Britain. Each site or boat trip is carefully evaluated, likely species are noted and there are details of cost, season and, of course, contact details. There is a final note on how to watch these animals responsibly – without endangering them.

This book should do much to promote whale-watching, perhaps helping to put it on a similar footing to birding. Anyone with an interest in these creatures, or indeed anyone searching for an unusual wildlife holiday will want to get hold of a copy.

Chris Sharpe

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