Hello everyone, who’s ready for the round-up of Day 4 at Orca Watch 2022? If you missed our daily round-up and interviews today, you can find it here or keep reading for the highlights!
Today we had another school visit, this time out at Halkirk Primary School with class P5 & P6. Katie had a successful session with them teaching about the cetaceans that we usually see in their local area and some of the class hope to visit our base in John O’Groats at some point during the week. It also got them excited for their upcoming surfing lesson at Dunnet!
On her way back to John O’Groats Katie stopped by Dunnet Head to catch up with some of the observers there, Cath and Hazel (and Pebbles!).
Orca at Fraserburgh last night
Great news from our orca sighting at Duncansby Head and from the ferry on Saturday 28th May. The two bulls have been identified as Trinkie and Úlfur!
Steve Truluck posted on his Facebook page Steve Truluck at Sea:
“The power of citizen science yet again proves itself!”
“Orca enthusiasts attending Orca Watch enjoyed views throughout Saturday afternoon as the two males, Trinkie and Úlfur, previously seen at Fraserburgh cruised north along the east coast before turning west at Duncansby Head and through the narrow channel south of Stroma. They were last seen heading northwest towards Hoy, Orkney at 17:00 on Saturday 28th May”
“Amazingly, just two days later they were observed passing Fraserburgh again! Many thanks to Leslie Sim for submitting his photos to the authors of the Scottish Killer Whale Photo ID catalogue. Further thanks too to the fishermen at Wick and Fraserburgh who alerted the general public to the orcas at both locations”
This is what Orca Watch is all about. Everyone coming together to collect data to better understand and in turn, protect and conserve these amazing animals. Thanks to Steve for the post – follow Steve’s page to keep up to date with all his orca adventures!
It has been a lovely day right across from Thurso to Duncansby Head today with blue skies and a light breeze. The sea was originally a bit rough before calming down in the afternoon creating perfect conditions for spotting cetaceans and allowing us to see plenty of fins and seals throughout the day. It clouded over slightly towards the afternoon before brightening up for the evening ahead – it looks like another great sunset is heading our way.
Key sightings update
Firstly, a little catch up from yesterday (as we cut off our sightings report in the blog at 5pm each day). There were a few porpoises and seals spotted off the evening ferry and approximately 60 different grey seals and 4 harbour seals seen at Gills Bay. Into the evening many porpoises were spotted from Duncansby Head. We also continued to hear about the fifteen orca passing by Marwick in Orkney and had a chat with Graham Campbell during our tonight’s round-up to get his version of events – not to be missed!
Tuesday 31st May
Today, the day began at 7:00 with two Risso’s dolphins spotted at Noss Head. Those that hopped on the 8:45 John O’Groats ferry had a close encounter with a couple of harbour porpoise which were also spotted from our Orca Watch base heading east. A further fin was then seen from the ferry at approximately 9:05 which was then identified as a Minke whale heading towards Duncansby Head.
Steve reported a Minke whale from the John O’Groats ferry at around 10:15 heading, again, towards Duncansby Head. A porpoise was also spotted in the same location. Another Minke was spotted 800m off the ferry heading east towards Duncansby Head at 10:40. Anne Boyer then spotted a small pod of Risso’s just south of Noss Head lighthouse close in near to the harbour.
We continued to see Risso’s, Minke and porpoise at Staxigoe, Colinsay and Sannick Beach respectively. It was a busy day up at Duncansby Head too with sightings of porpoise, Minke and lots of seals.
No cetaceans were sighted in the perfect conditions up at Dunnet Head but our volunteers did pick up around 24 seals during their surveys.
See you tomorrow!
To end today’s update, I’ll leave you with a lovely write-up in the John O’Groats Journal where one of our volunteers, Hazel Masson talks about her encounter with the orca from the ferry on Saturday. Read it here!
As always, thanks to all our incredible volunteers and to everyone who is up here helping us to spot and survey as much as we can! That’s all the sightings from today up until approximately 5pm. See you tomorrow.
Katie Baker Communication and Outreach Officer