Orca Watch 2018

Saturday 26th May – Saturday 2nd June 2018

Orca Watch Logo Image
  
Breaching killer whale by John Irvine/ Sea Watch Foundation
 

Killer whales (orcas) are rare in the British Isles but can be observed mainly in northern Britain, around the Hebrides and the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland). Those from the Northern Isles seem to come from a population that ranges between Norway, Iceland and the Faroes, visiting the northernmost North Sea in the winter to feed upon herring or mackerel, and then coming closer to shore between May and August, where they have been observed chasing seals.

This year’s Orca Watch is planned for late May to coincide with the annual passage of killer whales observed in the Pentland Firth as well as to coincide with school holidays to enable as many people to join us as possible! The aim of Orca Watch is to collect vital data on this and other cetacean species in the area, whilst informing the public about these enigmatic animals just off their shores!

Originally instigated by Sea Watch Regional Coordinator Colin Bird, the event is now in its seventh year and is growing in popularity. We are really pleased about this and welcome collaboration from other organisations to ensure that this event reaches as many people as possible!

  • For the public

    We’re currently in the process of planning Orca Watch activities and new events will be listed below as soon as we have them.

    Whilst you could certainly plan your own holiday around the event, we are only inviting you to join in with our surveys, training course and other events and we cannot provide accommodation or travel.

    2013 OrcaKiller whales seen during Orca Watch. Photo by Colin Bird/ Sea Watch Foundation
     

    • Sat
      21
      May
      2016
      Sat
      28
      May
      2016

      Duncansby Head

      Join Orca Watch founder, Colin Bird, as he watches for orcas! You can come along for as little or as long as you like, but if you think you can offer upwards of an hour please drop us a line so we can get organised! Please dress sensibly for changeable weather and bring the food and drink you may require for the length of your watch. Please note that the nearest toilet facilities are three miles away in John O’Groats.Download a watch form here. For further advice or to let us know you’d like to attend, please contact Anna.

       

      Every day of the week we will be at Duncansby Head surveying for cetaceans, we would welcome volunteers to join us. The times of these watches are:

       

      Saturday 21st May 8am until 2pm

      Sunday 22nd May 8.30am until 2.30pm

      Monday 23rd May 9am until 3pm

      Tuesday 24th May 9.30am until 3.30pm

      Wednesday 25th May 10am until 4pm

      Thursday 26th May 11am until 5pm

      Friday 27th May 11.30am until 5.30pm

      Saturday 28th May 12pm until 7pm

       

    • Sat
      21
      May
      2016
      Sat
      28
      May
      2016

      9:00 amJohn O'Groats to Orkney ferry

      Day Trips daily to Orkney Islands departing from John O’Groats at 9am.  www.jogferry.co.uk  A chance to spot marine wildlife on your 40 mins crossing across the Pentland Firth on John O’Groats Ferry.

      Please remember to report any sightings you have during these trips to Sea Watch Foundation here: www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/sightingsform. We’re interested to hear about all your whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings, not just killer whales!

    • Sat
      21
      May
      2016

      Drop in any time from 11am until 2pmDuncansby Head Grid Ref: ND 405 733

      Drop in session with Sea Watch Foundation. Come and learn how to survey for cetaceans and how to fill in the survey forms. Meet new people and enjoy the stunning scenery.

      Duncansby Head is 2 miles from John O Groats (where you will find the nearest toilet) and is the most North Easterly tip of Mainland UK. The site is very exposed and you will need to be warmly dressed and ready for the weather. The nearest toilet facilities are at John O’ Groats.

    • Mon
      23
      May
      2016

      18:30 – 20:30Pulteney People's Centre

      Talk from Rob Lott (WDC) plus guest speakers. Join us for a fascinating talk about Orcas of the world.

      For more information and to book please contact The Scottish Conservation Officer at Shorewatch@whales.org /01343820339.

      There will be a small charge of £2 but free to volunteers of both WDC and Sea Watch.

    • Mon
      23
      May
      2016

      2-4:45pmRSPB Forsinard Flows Reserve

      This walk is a great way to explore the Forsinard Flows reserve. Discover the peatlands and learn about our conservation work to protect and restore them. Please come prepared for changeable weather, wellies/walking boots and waterproofs are essential. This walk does not follow a trail or path and is over open peatland. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

      Meet at RSPB Forsinard Flows Visitor Centre. Grid ref NC891425. Price: RSPB members £3.00; non – RSPB members £5; U16′s free. www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-415706

      Don’t forget to report any cetacean sightings you may have during your visit! www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/sightingsform

    • Tue
      24
      May
      2016

      11am – 1pmHolborn Head

      A Highland Council Countryside Rangers event as part of the ‘Orca Watch’ week of events. Join the Countryside Ranger and use our telescopes to watch for whales, dolphins and porpoises in Thurso Bay from Holborn Head. Discover how to identify the different species and learn where the best sites in north Caithness/Sutherland are to see them.

      Wear warm/waterproof clothing and bring binoculars if you have them. Meeting place given out on booking.

       £4.50 adults, £3 concession, family £15. All children must be accompanied. Booking essential Paul Castle 01847 821531 paul.castle@highland.gov.uk

    • Tue
      24
      May
      2016
      Fri
      27
      May
      2016

      11am – 2pmJohn O'Groats Tourist Information Centre

      WDC and Sea Watch will be holding an interpretation stand outside the Tourist Information Centre. Come and have a chat to learn about the amazing creatures you can see from your local shore!

    • Wed
      25
      May
      2016

      2:00 pmDunnet Head

      Join RSPB staff for a guided walk looking at the puffins and other birds nesting in the seabird cities at the most northerly point on the British mainland. The walk will last approximately 1 hour and covers some uneven terrain – stout footwear is essential, as well as appropriate clothing. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Events may be cancelled in the event of persistent rain or strong winds.

      Meet at RSPB Information Point, Dunnet Head car park, grid ref:ND202767. Price: RSPB members and U16′s free; Non RSPB members £5 (refundable if you join the RSPB on the day). www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-414042

      Don’t forget to report any cetacean sightings you may have during your visit! www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/sightingsform

    • Sat
      28
      May
      2016

      1pm – 4pmSea Drift Centre

      Come and learn how to observe for whales and dolphins and record your sightings to protect these amazing creatures.

      For more information please contact The Scottish Conservation Officer at Shorewatch@whales.org /01343820339.

    • Sat
      20
      May
      2017
      Sun
      28
      May
      2017

      Duncansby Head

      Join Orca Watch founder, Colin Bird, as he watches for orcas! You can come along for as little or as long as you like, but if you think you can offer upwards of an hour please drop us a line so we can get organised! Please dress sensibly for changeable weather and bring the food and drink you may require for the length of your watch. Please note that the nearest toilet facilities are three miles away in John O’Groats.

      Download a watch form here.

      For further advice or to let us know you’d like to attend, please contact Anna.

       

      Every day of the week we will be at Duncansby Head surveying for cetaceans, we would welcome volunteers to join us and also for watches to take place outside of these hours. The times of our set watches are:

      Saturday 20th May 11am until 5pm

      Sunday 21st May 1pm until 7pm

      Monday 22nd May 1pm until 7pm

      Tuesday 23rd May 9am until 5pm

      Wednesday 24th May 10am until 6pm

      Thursday 25th May 10am until 6pm

      Friday 26th May 9am until 5pm

      Saturday 27th May 10am until 6pm

      Sunday 28th May 11am until 5pm.

    • Sat
      20
      May
      2017
      Sun
      28
      May
      2017

      See timetableJohn O'Groats to Orkney ferry

      Ferry trips to spot orcas!

      JoGtimetable
      Sea Watch Foundation will have staff and volunteers on as many trips as possible to collect data and you can help with the spotting – the more eyes the merrier!

      Fares: £18/19 (with transfer between port and Kirkwall). Children under 16 half price. Under 5’s, bicycles & dogs free.

      Please liaise with John O’Groats Ferries to book tickets and to assure your chosen trip is going ahead. 01955 611353 or book online jogferry.co.uk. There’s a provisional timetable above and please note that on 21 May there will be departures from John O’Groats at 8.45am & 10:30am only. The 10:30 boat will dock in Lyness (Hoy) before returning at 16:30pm

      jog-small

    • Sun
      21
      May
      2017

      4:15 pmJohn O'Groats to Hoy ferry

      This is your only opportunity to sail directly to the Orkney Isle of Hoy from the Scottish mainland on the passenger ferry from John O’Groats. Join the countryside rangers either walking out to the famous ‘Old Man’ sea stack or enjoy a slightly more strenuous guided walk through the Glens of Kinnaird en route to Rackwick Bay.

      Plenty of wildlife and stunning views on Hoy – hopefully whales or dolphins may be seen during the ferry crossing.

      Limited numbers. Booking and pre-payment to secure places by 14th May essential (credit/debit card booking available).

      £46 per person, covers ferry and bus ticket plus ranger event charge.

      Further info: please contact Paul Castle on 01847 821531 or paul.castle@highland.gov.uk

      Booking:John O’Groats Ferry on 01955 611535 (quote ranger trip when booking).

      crlogo

    • Mon
      22
      May
      2017

      11am-12noonDunnet Head

      Join RSPB staff in celebrating the wildlife of the North coast as part of Sea Watch Foundation’s Orca Watch 2017.
      Meet at Dunnet Head to join the guided walk to look at the seabird colonies. Learn about the nature of the North coast and if we are lucky maybe even spot some whales or dolphins.
      Dunnet Head is exposed. Suitable clothing and footwear are required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more details on the site visit: www.rspb.org.uk/dunnethead

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    • Mon
      22
      May
      2017

      4-7pmStrathy Point

      Join our volunteer Orca Watch coordinator, Anna, for a watch from Strathy Point. Please dress sensibly for changeable weather and bring the food and drink you may require for the length of your watch. Please contact Anna if you would like to attend on annajem@hotmail.co.uk.

     
     
  • For Organisations

  • If your organisation would like to take part in Orca Watch, then please contact Anna Jemmett, a Sea Watch volunteer who is coordinating the event, on annajem@hotmail.co.uk. We would welcome public awareness events as well as extra help with the watches, or please let us know if you have any other ideas too!

    x 13-5-15Killer whale in the Pentland Firth. Photo by Colin Bird/ Sea Watch Foundation

Join in on social media #SWFOrcaWatch  

 

Thank you for getting involved!

 

The Team at Sea Watch Foundation