We have just received a report of a single humpback whale off Girdleness, Aberdeen from John Weinberg. It seems that the animal has slowly made its way up the coast heading northwards from Newtonhill and was off Aberdeen at 4.30pm today. The whale was also spotted earlier in the day off Muchalls by Isla Martin. Isla described what she saw:
So if you are in Aberdeen, what better way to kick start the weekend than grabbing a pair of binoculars and indulging in a bit of whale-watching?
Aberdeen is recognised world-wide for its bottlenose dolphins but humpback whales are infrequent visitors to the area. Any further sightings of this particular individual are of great interest to us so please report them to our website via the online sightings form. Photos are also very valuable as they can, in some cases, enable us to identify the individual using the markings on the underside of its tail.
What to look out for?
A blow – Large whales such as the humpback will breath out vigorously when they reach the surface after a long dive. This expiration (or blow) is visible from quite a distance. In humpbacks, the blow initially looks like a “V” shaped spray and will then dissipate into a cloud of water vapour.
Splashing -Humpback whales can be very expressive. They will use their pectoral fins (the fins on the sides of their bodies) and their tail flukes (tail fins) to slap the surface of the water creating a great deal of splashing. Both their pectoral fins and tail flukes have white markings which also makes them easy to pick out.
A dorsal fin – If the animal is feeding or travelling, all that you may see is its dorsal fin (the fin on its back) breaking the water’s surface. Humpbacks have lump in front of their dorsal fins which gives them their name.
Birds -Large groups of feeding birds are a good indication of fish, and where there are fish, there may well be whales and dolphins. So be sure to scan the water in that area.
Leaping – If you are really lucky, you will see the whole animal leave the water!
For more information on humpback whales go to our ID page.