Day 2 of Orca Watch 2023 was another busy day for everyone! Merch is selling quickly and it’s great to see people out and about wearing our new design and with our stickers on their cars! Our volunteers are quickly becoming experts with conducting marine mammal surveys and getting to know each other. The organisers also managed to get out on the John O’Groats ferry to help the volunteers conducting surveys.
We have a number of birthdays within our volunteer group this week so to celebrate, one of our volunteers organised a meet-up at Duncansby Head. It was so nice to see everyone coming together and sharing some cake! We are very grateful to have such a lovely group of volunteers this year.
We saw a number of sightings around our Orca Watch sites. A suspected orca sighting was reported early on Sunday morning (at 7:43am) but it was later confirmed that the animals were Risso’s dolphins. It was a very busy morning for our volunteers and other observers with a sighting of 2 minke whales from Gartymore at 10:22am and a second sightings of Risso’s dolphins from Latheronwheel, Caithness at 11:04am. Harbour porpoises were seen throughout the day with a total of 5 sightings, the first at Lybster Bay at 08:51am and the last at 7:08pm. Sarclet seemed to be the busiest watch site with a total of 4 separate sightings throughout the day, 3 sightings of Risso’s dolphins and 1 of minke whales.
At the end of the day we finally had one confirmed sightings of orca off Orkney which was exciting news. Four orcas were seen heading south off Brough of Birsay, Orkney. The two bulls present in the pod were identified to be Hulk and Nott, the pair of orca that some lucky people saw from John O’Groats on Friday!
Weather-wise, we are still facing rough condition and strong winds on mainland, Shetland and Orkney but thankfully the rain from Saturday has since cleared up and we hope for a much calmer day tomorrow.
Juliet Maxted/ Orca Watch Communications Manager