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Could you spot a whale or dolphin off the coast of Norfolk this week?

PUBLISHED: 16:55 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 07:13 28 July 2018

Common dolphin spotted off the Sheringham coast. Photo: Matt Thompson

Common dolphin spotted off the Sheringham coast. Photo: Matt Thompson

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Seal watching along our beautiful coastline is one of our many Norfolk traditions.

Mother and baby sperm whale. Photo: Gabriel BarathieuMother and baby sperm whale. Photo: Gabriel Barathieu

But next week a sea life charity are urging people all around the UK to keep a look out for some much bigger marine mammals off our shores.

The Sea Watch Foundation’s national whale and dolphin watch begins tomorrow.

And with the sun shining and the school holidays here, what better time could there be to try your hand at nature spotting?

Each year, scientists from the charity call on the public to get involved with the scheme, which records the numbers of whales, dolphins and porpoises in our waters.

Dolphins along side a tourist boat during the 2016 National Whale and Dolphin Watch. Photo: Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing/ Sea Watch Foundation.Dolphins along side a tourist boat during the 2016 National Whale and Dolphin Watch. Photo: Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing/ Sea Watch Foundation.

The watch begins on Saturday, July 28, and runs until Sunday, August 5.

The scheme, which is now in its 17th year, is one of the longest running citizen science schemes in the world.

Sightings officer, Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, said: “It’s all about reporting your whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings as well as getting out there to look for them.

“Without reports from the public on these animals we cannot compile data which is used for their protection.

“We need as many eyes on the sea as possible.

“That means we’re looking for people all around the English coast to arrange a watch for themselves and for everybody to report the animals they see.”

The charity is asking wildlife lovers to head to the coast to collect watch data of their own or join a tour and collect data at sea.

During the nine-day event in 2016, a total of 555 sightings were logged around England, and 11 different species of whales and dolphins were recorded in UK waters, including striped dolphins near the Isles of Scilly, killer whales in the north of Scotland and humpback whales in the north-east and the Isle of Man.

There were also sightings of the harbour porpoise which measures just a metre and a half when fully grown.

A young fin whale recently died after swimming up the Great Ouse to King’s Lynn, which was believed to be only the ninth time one of the creatures had been seen in Norfolk in more than 150 years.

The whale was just 5m long, but an adult fin whale - the second largest animal on our planet - can grow to lengths of up to 25m.

To register your own watch, visit: www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2018/

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