Key sightings update
Wow! What an amazing evening last night – 7-8 killer whales from the John O’Groats ferry and many happy passengers.
After the final round-trip ferry to Orkney, the ferry company made the quick decision to turn around and head back out after reports of orca near to Burwick came from Orkney. The report came through of around 7-8 individuals that had split near to Swona. A keen-eyed observer on the boat eventually spotted fins and this pod of three came towards the boat, under it and then away. We watched from the boat before making the decision to leave and head back. As we were leaving another group of individuals appeared on the other side of the boat, joining with the other whales and we watched them as they came towards the boat again, under the stern and away again. They then went on to start milling in the distance as we slowly began making our way back towards John O’Groats. We pulled into the harbour to view the end of the beacon lighting ceremony to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The pod we saw are believed to be the 169s after many passengers checked through their photos on the way back to shore.
Friday 3rd June
Another stunning day in John O’Groats and we are so thrilled that our observers can be out in this weather rather than rain and wind such in previous years.
We have had a steady pace of sightings throughout the day starting with a single porpoise spotted from Duncansby Head through a scope at 9:24. We’ve had reports of orca all day from Orkney with six orca seen in the flow of Waulkmill at 9:35 travelling east. 5-6 individuals were also seen from Hamnavoe near Old Man of Hoy heading north at around the same time.
A Minke whale was seen from Duncansby Head around three miles out travelling east towards The Skerries; our volunteer observer, Harry also saw what he believes to be the same animal from the ferry. Further Minke were seen actively lunge feeding about one mile straight out from Portgower (9:50).
Porpoise and Minke were continued to be seen from Duncansby Head in the morning as well as many porpoise sightings. OMMRI continued to keep us in the loop with their orca sightings as at 11:15 we heard news of a pod of orca in the flow heading towards the black tanker. Orca continued to head south between the fish farm and the rig. We also had reports of around three Risso’s dolphin from Dunnet Head, close to shore heading east.
From the evening ferry we had reports of three porpoise between them and Duncansby Head heading north and around 15 minutes later a minke within 300m radius of the boat, spotted by the skippers.
That’s all for today
A reminder that we do not have a round-up video this evening as we are getting together with our voluntary observers up here to thank them for all their hard work throughout the week. We’ll be back tomorrow with our blog and round-up as usual though. We are also selling merchandise from our Base until this Sunday, don’t forget to pop by and pick up your 2022 merchandise. We’ve got birdfeeders, tote bags, travel cups, t-shirts, kids t-shirts, hoodies, keyrings, necklaces and pens! See you then!
If you’d like to sign up to receive information about future Orca Watch, you can sign up here. We’ll be sending out details of our Orca Watch 2022 Round-Up show on 26th June, any information on key sightings and how you can get involved with next year’s event.
Katie Baker Communication and Outreach Officer