Written by Kevin Hepworth – SWF Regional Coordinator
I went for a quick look at the beach this morning as sea states were forecast to be good and had had white-beaks last Friday off Balmedie.
An interesting session followed. There were a few skuas and shearwaters about and then I had about nine pink foots in off the sea, combine this with a chill in the air and you could be forgiven for thinking that Autumn is almost upon us.
Then as if to counteract this, I was treated to one of those cetacean fests that comes along every now and then. Nineteen white-beaked dolphins came into sight, leaping and splashing about a mile out from the beachfront and around to Girdleness. At the same time, more animals further out in the distance were heading south at a rate of knots so I am sure this is a very conservative count. Whilst all this was going on I had a couple of porpoise lazing about off the mouth of the Don, easily visible in the very flat sea. I watched dolphins and porpoises from 6.20-6.50am until it was time to go and as I had my last scan of the dolphins disappearing off into the distance around Girdleness, caught a tall blow in my binoculars in the foreground. After a few seconds it appeared again and as I finally picked up the culprit. I had been expecting a minke but was hopeful it might be a humpback which we have had annually in the bay in the last few years was totally unprepared for what it actually was. To my surprise and delight, it was a huge bull killer whale, only about 600m off the beach and slowly drifting northwards. I alerted folks, picked up a couple more and watched for about ten more minutes before heading off for work.
It’s not the first one off our coast this year. Indeed they seem to have been around since May, being occasionally picked up, generally further north, but it’s my first one this year here.
Needless to say, I was a bit later than planned getting to work.