A DAY of dolphin watching is set to take place in memory of a dedicated volunteer.

John Dando kept watch for whales and dolphins across Durlston Bay for 27 years.

He passed away recently, but now volunteers at Durlston are redoubling their efforts as part of the Seawatch Foundation’s national whale and dolphin watch week in his honour.

The week runs from Saturday, July 29 to Sunday, August 6, and volunteers will be undertaking a whole day of dolphin watching on Thursday, August 3.

Wildlife-lovers are invited to join them, and get the chance to share the volunteers’ knowledge of sea creatures.

In 2016 watchers spent a total of 300 hours looking out, and recorded 59 marine mammal wildlife sightings, including 27 days of dolphin sightings and 12 sightings of seals.

Ranger Paul Jones said: “I was lucky to share the sighting of a Bottlenose Dolphin with a school group earlier this year. Our marine visitor spent several days focused on a fishing pot off Tilly Whim caves. On a good day at Durlston you may even hear Dolphins exhale through their blow holes when they surface to take in air!” 

He added: “Durlston Dolphin watch is just one superb example of how dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers support our small Ranger Team at Durlston Country Park. There are plenty of opportunities for all to get involved at Durlston and our other countryside sites. Why don’t you get involved?” 

The group is particularly keen to hear from anyone who can share photographs of dolphin’s dorsal fins, as this helps identify individual animals. Keen snappers should avoid approaching dolphins when out on boats.

Regular Durlston Dolphin Watchers receive free Dolphin text alerts, something which the public can subscribe to for only £5 per year. 

The most recent report came on July 9 from the National Coastwatch Institute at St. Alban’s Head when four Bottlenose Dolphins were seen three miles off shore.

For more details about the group, or the event, see durlston.co.uk