Increased Whale Sightings in the Far North This Summer
Sightings of whales and dolphins have been coming fast and furious this summer in the north as many more are being reported than usual. the Se Watch Foundation has been highlighting the sightings ahead of their annual whale watch that runs on 27th, 28th and 29th July at many points in the UK.
More than a dozen orcas were spotted off John O'Groats in the Scottish Highlands, with vulnerable seals believed to have caught the eye of at least two different pods.
While sightings are common in the Pentland Firth as the whales travel down from Iceland on their way to the Moray Firth, it is rare to see so many.
'Most sightings usually involve between three to five whales but what was seen was unprecedented,' said Colin Bird, of the Seawatch Foundation.
'At this time of year, seal pups are more common and are oblivious to the dangers orcas pose, which make them easy prey.
'Whales usually follow the herring trails and, due to the cool summers, the fish have travelled further south.'
The weather has led to record numbers of killer whales finding their way into Scottish waters as they make the annual trip.
Since the whale-watching season began in April, there have been 24 sightings in the north area, beating the annual average of between 15 and 20. There is still time for this record to be well beaten this year.
Records at Sewatch Foundation show an impressive number of sightings recorded in the north area -
Killer whale (x7) - Brough of Birsay at 00:00 on 18 Jul 2012 by Kenny Sinclair
Killer whale (x7) - Cantick Sound at 07:30 on 17 Jul 2012 by Tom Champagne
Killer whale (x14) - John O'Groats Harbour, at 08:17 on 16 Jul 2012 by Ivor Thomas/JOG ferry
Harbour porpoise (x1) - Swealke NE of Stroma, Pentland Firth. at 15:00 on 15 Jul 2012 by Donald Oman
Minke whale (x2) - 3miles North East Stroma, Pentland Firth at 15:00 on 15 Jul 2012 by Donald Oman
Killer whale (x8) - Just off south side of Stroma at 17:10 on 14 Jul 2012 by Janet Stout
Killer whale (x3) - Dunnet Head (5km Offshore) at 11:20 on 14 Jul 2012 by Dan Brown& Sandy Watt Via Colin Bird
Minke whale (x3) - Dunnet Head at 10:00 on 14 Jul 2012 by Dan Brown & Sandy Watt Via Colin Bird
Killer whale (x7) - Gills Bay, Stroma Sound, Caithness at 00:00 on 14 Jul 2012 by Linda Cormack
Killer whale (x1) - Eynhallow at 20:00 on 11 Jul 2012 by Kenny Sinclair
Killer whale (x1) - Eynhallow, Orkney on 10 Jul 2012 by Kenny Sinclair
Killer whale (x1) - Holms of Spurness Sanday on 2 Jul 2012 by Kenny Sinclair
Harbour porpoise (x3) - Strathy Point, North Sutherland at 08:00 on 30 Jun 2012 by Colin Bird
Killer whale (x6) - East of Stroma 2 miles North of John O'Groats Pentland Firth on 30 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
Harbour porpoise (x2) - 2 miles North Duncansby Head, Caithness at 10:00 on 26 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
Minke whale (x3) - Deerness at 06:00 on 26 Jun 2012 by Kenny Sinclair
Harbour porpoise (x1) - 800m North of Ness of Duncansb, Caithness at 09:00 on 25 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
White-beaked dolphin (x6) - Ushat Head, 3miles West of Thurso Caithness. on 21 Jun 2012 by Donald Oman
Harbour porpoise (x1) - Jog Ferry, Pentland Firth, 1 mile east of the Island of Stroma. at 09:00 on 19 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
Minke whale (x2) - Brough, Caithness, N. Scotland. at 15:00 on 18 Jun 2012 by Dave Jones
Killer whale (x6) - Duncansby Head at 12:40 on 18 Jun 2012 by Dave Pullan
Killer whale (x5) - 1mile North East of Island of Stroma, Pentland Firth, Caithness at 18:00 on 16 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
Minke whale (x1) - Strathy point east side. North Sutherland. at 12:00 on 10 Jun 2012 by Donald/Alison Oman
Killer whale (x5) - Gills Harbour. Gills Bay Caithness. at 07:00 on 10 Jun 2012 by Linda Cormack
Killer whale (x5) - Lother Rock, Pentland Firth, South Ronaldsay at 18:00 on 7 Jun 2012 by Ivor Thomas
Killer whale (x8) - NE of Stroma heading SE Pentland Firth Caithness. at 08:00 on 3 Jun 2012 by Jack Alexander
See Seawatch Foundation at http://seawatchfoundation.org.uk/