Welcome to Day 8 of Orca Watch 2021
The 27s are back! Orca madness descended during our live show last night! Read on to find out more!
As always, check our Breaking News! sightings page here and the Verified Sightings page here for all the latest news as well as our social media platforms including Orca Watch 2021 page and Orca Watch group.
TONIGHT! Orca Watch Live Special! – Saturday 5th June @ 7:30pm (Virtual doors open at 7:20pm) – In this extended Special we learn about the Ecological Consequences of Orca Predation on Seals with Julia Sutherland, as well as catching up on all the latest sightings. Click here. If you miss it, visit the Sea Watch Foundation YouTube channel where you can catch up on all the shows.
Sightings Map – Friday 4th June
The story of the 27 Pod on the Sutherland and Caithness coast is told below and also briefly the minkes too. However, it should be mentioned that one of the minkes off Duncansby Head breached at least twice. This was once not thought to be in their repertoire but now, although not common, it is recognised behaviour.
The haar which has bedeviled Orkney this week lifted for long enough for Robert Foubister to spot a basking shark, east of Warbeth graveyard
Shetland too saw basking sharks, spotted by David Wege off Burrastow, Walls, at 8:05pm and by Jay Evans at 10:25pm off Hillswick. Pete Morris saw 3 minke whales off West Skerries, Burra at 5:11pm and many harbour porpoise were in the area too.
Orca sightings were frequent again to the delight of all concerned. Karl Clark’s was the first sighting, 8 at St Ninians, including the169s again at 2:50pm.They were seen again by Peter Tinkler at Kettlaness, Burra at 3:50pm where Karl also saw what is believed to be a separate pod further offshore and moving south. Later they were still around, 5 being seen by Hugh Harrop around the West Skerries, Burra and identified as the 169s again. Barely 5 minutes later there were 7, with 2 unidentified bulls having joined the pod as they headed back south.
The 27 Pod on the prowl! Talmine to Dunnet Head.
Orca near Talmine harbour, Sutherland
This group was spotted by Jessica and James Cushner who phoned their sighting in to our Field Office in New Quay, Wales!
The whales, a mix of males and females, were skirting the shore between 1215 and 1315 at the entrance to the Kyle of Tongue. They came in to the Kyle near Talmine and then skirted the western edge of Rabbit Island before turning to the east. This group were almost certainly the 27s, seen further to the east later in the day.
In actual fact, Vicky Harper had seen at least one orca even earlier in the day, from Dunnet Head but it was Karen Munro’s sighting, first at Kirtomy Bay at 3:50 and then confirming that 27 Pod was at Strathy Point in Sutherland at 5:50pm that really started the excitement. This photograph was taken later by Anita M Crook, of #034 (or 27A) and proves the 27s were once again hunting seals on the Sutherland, and then later the Caithness, coast.
It was not just harbour seals on the menu though. As Steve Truluck was able to show in this excellent photograph, again of #034, harbour porpoise were on the menu too! This is quite typical of this pod, well known for hunting close along the shore line and whilst seals are a more common target, porpoise are often taken too.
Even at 11pm, the pod was still being seen in Thurso Bay and no-one wanted to go to bed! Hazel Masson reported that after the porpoise kill at about 8:15pm, those still there watched a seal kill too. Steve and a few others continued into the early hours of the morning. Once you catch orca fever there is no known cure!
Not just orca!
Of course we have been seeing a number of different species during the week including minke whales.
This shot was taken by Christina Worth yesterday from the John O’Groats Ferry, not far from Duncansby Head at 10:15am
A minke was also seen from Dunnet Head by Darran Dixon at 8am and in the same area by Catherine de Bertrand at 11:39. Two more were seen by Fiona Darling from Duncansby Head at 3pm and another by Lucy Baldwin 22 minutes later.
Minkes were also seen around Shetland yesterday, one by Pete Morris at 4:13pm near West Burra and 1 at the Out Skerries by Andrew Harrop at 4:54pm. Around the West Skerries, with orca also being seen, 3 more were spotted by Pete Morris at 5:11pm.
Join us on Sunday for Orca Watch Live! Final Roundup
Orca Watch Live! Final Roundup – Sunday 6th June @ 7:30pm (Virtual doors open at 7:20pm) – Join us as we look back at the highlights of the week, consider what we have learned and look ahead to National Whale and Dolphin Watch, 24th July – 1st August 2021 and Orca Watch 2022! Click here.
If you missed our amazing Evening of Talks, you can still use the link you bought to see the recording. If you didn’t buy a ticket, it’s not too late! Click here!
This amazing show includes over 2 hours of orca “edutainment” including “Iconic Orca – Introducing the Killer Whale” with Robin Petch, our keynote speaker Filipa Samarra from the Icelandic Orca Project with “The orcas that unite us” and Director Peter Evans and Sightings Officer Chiara Bertulli talking about Sea Watch Foundation, its role in studying and protecting UK whales, dolphins and porpoises and how you can get involved as a volunteer “citizen scientist”. All this and more for only £6.50! Just click here!
Links to further information
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