Orca Watch 2019

Friday 17th May – Sunday 26th May 2019

 

Orca Watch Logo Image

  Breaching killer whale. Photo credit: John Irvine/ Sea Watch Foundation

 

If you were worried that you missed the opportunity to take part into the Sea Watch Foundation’s Orca Watch event this year, then never fear – The Sea Watch Foundation in collaboration with Regional Coordinators in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, and with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) will be organizing their very successful 2019 event again in May 2019!

The upcoming Orca Watch event will take place on the 17th-26th May in Caithness, around the Orkney and Shetland Isles!

Sea Watch Foundation in collaboration with their former Regional Coordinator Colin Bird have been organizing an annual national recording event, the Orca Watch for the past 7 years. The idea of organizing this event originated from the possibility of underwater turbines installed in the Pentland Firth, which initiated the first seasonal watch to gather information on how killer whales use this area and what might be the consequences of such an installation. Next year’s 10 day-long event will see hundreds of whale enthusiast volunteers scanning the sea of the Pentland Firth to try catch a glimpse of orcas, and any other cetacean species passing by. This annual event has been created to increase public awareness of how and when orcas utilise waters of the Pentland Firth during the summer months. This event also draws attention to the need for conservation, protection and continued research into the status, distribution, and abundance of this iconic whale species around the UK.

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.

What’s on?!

Next year, whilst our main base will be Dunscansby Head, we’re looking for your help to expand the data collection to other sites in North Scotland, Orkney and Shetland. We’re hoping this will be a great way for locals to get involved on their own patch as well as giving you the flexibility to add to the event whenever suits you!

Organised watches feature on the event list below, but if you’d like to run a watch of your own at a recommended watch site please click here. Whilst you could certainly plan your own holiday around the event, we are only inviting you to join in with our surveys and other events and we cannot provide accommodation or travel.

If you’d like to be kept in the loop with plans for Orca Watch this year, or if you want to volunteer during the event, then please contact Sea Watch Lead Organizers,  on orcawatch@seawatchfoundation.org.uk.

  • 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.

Join the Orca Watch Team on social media:

Orca Watch (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/groups/orcawatch/

Shetland Orca Sightings (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/groups/shetlandorcasightings/

Orkney Cetacean Sightings (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/groups/322499874791151/

Thank you for getting involved!

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