BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Go to the Listen Again page
Shared Earth
Fridays 15.00 - 15.30
Shared Earth is a series from the BBC Natural History Unit which celebrates the natural world and explores what we can all do to help conserve wildlife and habitats and reduce our footprint on the planet
Contact us
We're keen to hear your suggestions for future programmes via our Contact Us page or write to Shared Earth, BBC NHU Radio, Bristol BS8 2LR
Friday 07 March 2008
Listen to this programme in full
A dolphin leaping from the water. © Aberdeen University.
A dolphin leaping from the water. © Aberdeen University.
Moray Firth Dolphins

The Moray Firth dolphins are a great tourist attraction for NE Scotland. There are about 130 in the group and they are often seen cruising the coastline quite close to shore. They are the most northerly pod in the world and so right on the edge of their range and are also the largest bottle nosed dolphins too.

Related Links...

Dolphins have always attracted attention - mystical, spiritual and scientific – and many people talk about the magical experiences they have had swimming with them.

Researchers working on the Moray Firth population are much more wary. Having watched them hunt down and kill the smaller Harbour Porpoise, they say they are not quite so friendly as their big grin would have us believe.

About half of the porpoises that are washed up on UK beaches have been killed by dolphins. In some populations of dolphins, males will break away from the main group and form pairs. These alliances are then used to separate out a reproductively receptive female and separate her from the group and force her to mate.

Not in keeping with their magnanimous image! And one other thing about our dolphins – they have bad complexions! For reasons not quite understood their skin is covered with lesions, strange pigmentation, swellings and nodules.

This may well be due to the temperature and salinity of the water, as similar marks are found on dolphins in water of the same type in different parts of the world. But it may also be related to the poor state of the North Sea.

Environmental pollution is high in our seas and dolphins and other cetaceans that are washed up on our beaches can be classified as toxic waste due to the high levels of pollutants found in their tissues.

Curlew Calling
The call of the curlew is one of the most evocative sounds in nature. It has the most haunting sound that carries far over marsh and mudflat. The UK is home to an internationally important breeding population, and we provide breeding and wintering grounds for curlew from Europe too.

Related Links...
RSPB - Curlew info page
BBOWT Organisation

We have a good number, about 40,000 breeding pairs, but there are some concerns that their numbers are falling as we loose suitable breeding habitat. Curlew need rough, wet grassland for breeding and sadly many of these areas are being lost through aforrestation and drainage. But in central England the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust have bought Gallows Farm between Bicester and Aylesbury and returning the improved fields back into wetland.
    Listen Live
    Audio Help

    Shared Earth

    Archived Episodes
    Science, Nature & Environment

    About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy