Saturday 23rd May – Sunday 31st May 2020
Hold the dates – our 9th annual Orca Watch will take place May 23rd – 31st 2020.
If 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 other partners, is currently planning for Orca Watch 2020.
Orca Watch 2020 will take place on the 23rd – 31st May in Caithness, and 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 8 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.
Once more we are expecting that Orca Watch 2020 will see hundreds of volunteer whale enthusiasts 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.
The Sea Watch Foundation staff would like to thank in advance the following organisations that have already confirmed their support of Orca Watch 2020. They will greatly contribute to the success of the event: John O’Groats Ferries, RSPB wardens at Marwick Head, Sanday Development Trust, High Life Highland Countryside Rangers, Scottish Natural Heritage, Shetland Wildlife. We will be adding more organisations in due course.
Also many thanks to our Official Accommodation Partners who are supporting Orca Watch 2020!
Finally, thanks to all Orca Watch volunteers who have contacted the event organizers and who are going to help making this event a great success!
To find our more:
More information about how you can get involved will follow shortly, and will be published on this website, as well as on our Facebook Page – Orca Watch 2020.
To connect with fellow Orca Watchers, join in the discussions about the event, and to see what has gone on in previous years, join our Facebook Group – Orca Watch.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Shetland or Orkney Isles during Orca Watch, also check out the Facebook groups Shetland Orca Sightings and Orkney Cetacean Sightings - Shetland Orca Sightings ; Orkney Cetacean Sightings
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.
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.
See timetableJohn O'Groats to Orkney ferry
Ferry trips to spot orcas!
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
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 email@example.com
Booking:John O’Groats Ferry on 01955 611535 (quote ranger trip when booking).
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for getting involved!