Welcome to Day 2 of Orca Watch 2021!
The first sightings are coming in and will feature first on our Breaking News Sightings page here. As they are verified and we receive full information, they will be added to our Orca Watch Sightings Page here.
Throughout the week you will hear about the latest sightings in this daily blog and join us for Orca Watch Live! every evening starting Monday 31st May at 7:30pm. Admission to this virtual event is free and access can be obtained through Eventbrite. Just Search for Orca Watch Online and the list of events will come up but Monday’s event can be found at www.eventbrite.com/e/orca-watch-live-monday-31st-may-tickets-155592781197 so why not register right now!
Orca Watch 2021 – An Evening of Talks
Last night we held our Evening of Talks. It was a huge success with wonderful feedback from our viewers and included an introduction to Orca Watch and Sea Watch Foundation, presentations on the Iconic Orca and the Icelandic Orca Project and other news and information including a Q&A session. This 2.5hr event can still be viewed by purchasing a ticket from www.eventbrite.com/e/orca-watch-online-2021-evening-of-talks-tickets-154541611119 for just £6.50.
Each day, I will report on sightings from our observers in as much detail as is available. An initial report will be available early afternoon and this will usually be updated between 5pm and 6pm each day. Tune in to Orca Watch Live at 7:30pm each day from Monday 31st at 7:30pm to hear more.
The latest sightings can be seen here on our Orca Watch Breaking News page. Some as you can see are not complete, missing times or numbers of animals. The person listed as Observer may not be the person who actually saw them but the one who passed the information to us. As we learn more, this information will be amended and then ultimately, it will be added to the National Sightings Database to support further research and conservation efforts. We just thought you’d like to know as soon as possible, what is around!
Friday 28th May
As you can see in the amazing photographs by Robert Foubister, we started receiving sightings on Friday! Orca were seen at Hoxa Head, Orkney, Unst, Shetland by Robert and Christina Worth and also at Staxigoe and Duncansby Head by Clare Boycott-Boardman, John Bray and Steve Truluck. Steve told me after our Evening of Talks that they had rounded Duncansby Head and headed towards The Stacks where he is sure they attacked and killed a seal.
Saturday 29th May
As the Breaking News list shows, Saturday was quite a busy day around Shetland and Orkney although the haar, a cold sea-fog affected sightings elsewhere. Probably the most exciting encounter was around Mio Ness and Out Skerries on Shetland where Karen Hall reported that observers had recorded a group of 5 orca, including a calf which turned out to be the 169 pod. We may have photographs to share with you later as photo-ID revealed their identity. They were last seen on May 9th off Caithness but had not been seen in Shetland since June last year!
Minke Video! Lauren Somerfield and Dan Brown have shared this amazing clip of a minke foraging off Dunnet Head, Caithness at 1425 and you can view it here.
Sunday 30th May
Sunday has not been the best of days for sightings over much of the area and Lucy Baldwin’s photograph clearly shows why! The haar set in with a vengeance. However, it is not all bad news by any means because earlier in the day, Dan Brown of Wild Discovery had two separate sightings of minke whales, with 1 at 0940 and then 3 at 1146. Then suddenly, at 1149, 5 Risso’s Dolphins were on the scene!
As more sightings from the weekend are shared with us, they will be added to a new blog on Monday. Join us for Orca Watch Live! on Monday at 7:30 for more sightings news and a short presentation about how fear of the orca turned to a fascination and respect for these amazing animals. We will also be joined by our Monitoring Officer, Katrin Lohrengel, who will talk about our ongoing bottlenose dolphin monitoring project. Click here to register for free!
Links to more information
Additional information can be found on our Orca Watch 2021 Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/orcawatchers or our Orca Watch www.facebook.com/groups/orcawatch/ Facebook Group as well as www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/orca-watch-2021/.
How can you help?
Join as a Sea Watch Member
We are always keen to recruit more observers and training is available either through our Cetacean Observer Training Course and/or more informal support from Regional Co-ordinators. A great way of learning more about cetaceans and our work is by becoming a member from only £3.50/mth. In return you will receive our outstanding online monthly Sea Watcher magazine, a monthly Sightings Report and Bulletin and access to the protected areas of the My Sea Watch website. Download a free first issue of Sea Watcher, or sign up at https://members.seawatchfoundation.org.uk
Adopt a Dolphin
If you have children, perhaps www.adoptadolphin.org.uk is the way to go. The scheme directly supports our long-standing Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project, studying and protecting Bottlenose Dolphins. As well as a cuddly dolphin, an adoption certificate, poster and other goodies, you will receive the monthly Newsplash newsletter with updates about all the dolphins and access to the private area of the website where you can follow the progress of your own adopted dolphin.
Donate to Sea Watch Foundation with the PayPal Giving Fund
The pandemic has hit funding for conservation charities, and many other people of course, very hard. Our Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project needs funding to cover the cost of boat hire, collecting and analysing data and running the office and visitor centre. Orca Watch is an expensive but vital event for us and the cetaceans we are seeking to study and protect. Similarly we have National Whale and Dolphin Watch at the end of July. Please consider donating at www.paypal.com/gb/fundraiser/charity/49262