Another glorious day and with many of our observers still in the area we managed to continue to collect effort data from Dunnet Head, Gills Bay, Duncansby Head and Stacks and the ferry. Keep reading for our daily sightings update.
We had a great meet up with our Orca Watch 2022 volunteers last night outside our Orca Watch Base. It was great to get everyone together, chat and find out how they felt this year had gone and whether they were thinking of returning in the future. We really hope to see familiar (and new) faces at Orca Watch 2023! If you’d like to hear about the latest news and events in terms of future Orca Watch please feel free to sign up to our mailing list.
Today, I headed off to Lyth Arts Centre today to meet some of the team behind the Mapping Ocean Change project. I had a great day getting to know Jennifer, the artist behind the concept and the two PhD students who had set up different samples under microscopes and also offered an insight into marine food chains. The workshop included a trip on the morning wildlife trip where we lucky to have sightings of harbour porpoise, seals, and puffins, amongst the many other birds seen at the cliffs off Duncansby Head. We then headed back to the arts centre for lunch and an afternoon of getting creative by making our own food chain collages. Thanks to those at Mapping Ocean Change for inviting me along!
Firstly, an update on the orca pod seen on Thursday evening originally believed to be the 169s. After taking a further look at the photos taken during the encounter, Steve Truluck has confirmed it in fact wasn’t the 169s and we now have no ID at this stage. He does, however, believe the pod to be the same animals that were seen at Scapa a few days earlier.
Yesterday evening, a lone Risso’s was seen 500m of Gill’s Bay and 100m east of Scotland’s Haven. Orkney continued to once again enjoy orca sightings, with a pod in Scapa flow seemingly travelling back and forth between the fish farm and the rig for much of afternoon. The pod size varied between around 3-5 individuals. We received details of another separate encounter with a pod of six orca, milling north of Flotta. Our last reports of the day came at around 20:00; of a lone porpoise seen with a scope east of Duncansby Head, heading north and 21:30; a Minke spotted south-west of Burwick harbour.
Saturday 4th June
The sightings started at 09:55 today with reports of a Minke seen from the John O’Groats ferry about 1.5 miles north of Swona. Harbour porpoises were seen continuously throughout the day from the ferry and the land as well as a four further separate Minke sightings.
The Risso’s also made an appearance today with a pod of two seen 50m off Dunnet Head. Orca were seen back at Scapa Flow, with two separate sightings of a pod, at 10:00 and then 13:30. The second sighting was of around six individuals.
That’s all up until 5pm tonight – we wonder what the evening entails!
See you tomorrow for the last day of Orca Watch 2022
Don’t forget to join us for tonight’s daily sightings round-up on YouTube. We also still have a few bits of merchandise available in the Orca Watch base until tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed for tomorrow – it would be amazing to have an orca sighting on our last day!
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