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Cetaceans - Aberdeen and beyond (1 Viewer)

Ian Hay

Well-known member
A message from Kevin Hepworth, Please note the map did not appear when I pasted the document, I will try to post a copy or a link shortly

Ian

I would disagree with this statement off the forum, 'We tend to get them around the 21st of June and they stay for about 6 weeks. In the deeper water south of the city they can be seen closish to the shore. North of the city we only see them from the ferry, do you have a similar pattern?'

and point out that white beaked dolphins have been recorded year round in Grampian waters, but peak sightings occur between June and September and also add that whilst the north of the city is watched much less than the south we have had an awful lot of success from the land from sites such as Cruden Bay, Bullars of Buchan, Forvie and Balmedie, although the animals do tend to be further out from the beach at Balmedie. As we head east around the corner into the Moray Firth past Fraserburgh, we have had patchy success seeing white beaks, with 150m off the cliffs at Troup Head being the furthest westwards I have seen them from the land.

Interestingly, north of the city I have also seen rissos in attendance with groups of whitebeaks, both from the land and from the NORCET ferry surveys, which is always worth bearing in mind when estimating numbers because a group of animals may not always be the same species.

The map below from the East Grampian Cetacean Report shows the spread of reported sightings, as well as highlighting where land based watching has been concentrated and also illustrating the fact that inshore vessel based surveys between Stonehaven and Aberdeen have been highly successful with white beaked dolphin encounters.

Cheers,

Kevin
 

martin kitching

Obsessed seawatcher
Hi Ian

We have a quite similar pattern. WBD have now been recorded off Northumberland in every month except December, February and April, so it's likely they're off here all year round. Sightings increase from mid-June, July is the peak month and August/September are also good.

Sightings from land are relatively frequent, and we get plenty of reports from angling charter boats. We find them on our pelagics from time to time as well... http://www.northernexperiencewildlifetours.co.uk/blog/index.php/birdwatching/life-begins-at-40

cheers
martin

Martin

I would be interested to know more about your White-Beaked Dolphins as I have to admit they are my favourite. We tend to get them around the 21st of June and they stay for about 6 weeks. In the deeper water south of the city they can be seen closish to the shore. North of the city we only see them from the ferry, do you have a similar pattern?
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
We had the Norcet training day on Sunday and the Dolphins in the Harbour put on a great show for us, 20 to 25 with lots of breaching, tail slapping etc. Quite a few calfs were present. Very impressive.

All the best

Ian

ps not to late to volunteer for whale and dolphin surveys to Shetland by the way
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
I have not been down to the Harbour since the last post but talked to Kevin Hepworth this morning. Apparently the usual Bottlenose Dolphins were feeding, jumping etc at the harbour all day Saturday.

Also 2 or 3 Risso's were seen from Crudden Bay on Friday in viewing poor conditions.

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Sorry for the lack of any updates, Dolphins are in the harbour most days. The First trip of the Norcet Season coincided with the 'we bit a wind' we had in Scotland last week so only a couple of Dolphin sp seen away from Aberdeen.

All the best

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Have returned from my first Northern Isles survey of the year aboard the Northlink Hildassay with the sun being the main problem!

Left Aberdeen at 5pm on Friday with calm-ish see and full sun, the first sighting was of a quickly moving dolphin in the Peterhead area however it was too fast so went down as Dolphin sp.

No further sightings until we reached the small trench north of Fraserburgh were we saw about 10 porps and a couple of cracking Minkie Whales.

The rest of the trip north was uneventful but calm and we arrived in Lerwick at 10am, we sorted the car hire out and headed to lerwick harbour for some tern photography before going to see the resident Long Tailed Skua that gave nice veiws.

We made our way up to Fetlar and settled in to photograph the very obliging Red Necked Phalaropes at Loch Funzie, however it would appear we were about 2 years to late judging by the visitors book in the hide. Up until 2009 close sighting of up to 14 seamed to be normal however they have moved with just occasional females being seen, in fact one birder had spent 21 hours looking and had only had one brief view.

After sleeping in the car i woke to wonderful light and great views of upto 5 RT Divers. Left for the ferry at 7.50 only for us to spot the words 'bookings only' ie this service only runs if you have booked, so back to the loch were another couple of birders had seen a Phalarope! If using small ferries in Scotland please read the small print, I once appeared at the quayside on Muck only to find that the time table referred to when the ferry left the bay, the second boat needed to take people over to the ferry - in the bay - left 30 minutes earlier.'

We boarded our boat to Aberdeen at 5 and enjoyed a sunny journey south with regular calls and false, alarms and Dolphins sp south of Shetland. This seems to be a normal trand which i think is due to AWD Dolphins swimming fast away from the boat making them hard to see and identify, could also be fatigue. The see settled just as the sun finally set but we decided to get some sleep ready for the last morning run into Aberdeen.

Woke to find the weather had broken and wind and rain were making viewing hard. The only Cetaceans seen were 4 BND at the Harbour.

Thanks again to the crew of the Northlink Hildassay how looked after us well

Ian
 
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Ian Hay

Well-known member
What a night!

I had a meeting in the centre of Aberdeen which finnished early so i decided to stop at the battery and count the dolphins. A few peoplke had gathered so i knew the would be there however what surfaced in their usual place was much bigger, a Humpback Whale. I could not beleive it-infact i tried to convince myself it was a minkie, even until i saw my photos on the computer.

It gave a great show lunging from the water showing its head and full mouth. Blows were seen a couple of times.

It was in the area for about 2 hours but has not been seen since.

Oh and the Dolphins turned up in small ish numbers just as i was leaving

Wow

Ian
 

Ficedula

velico ergo sum
arrrrggg, drove through Aberdeen yesterday afternoon. to make me feel worse, or possibly better, what time was it visible? we were in Aberdeen about 2pm. We did see a large pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins out from Murcar heading toward Aberdeen.
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Fecedula

3.30 until 5.30 pm. if travelling north one was seen at channory point today at 6.30 am and has been seen breaching by the Sutors. Could be the same beast but quite a swim in 12hours

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Attached as requested. Heavy crops even with a 600mm as a could not get onto him when he was close.

I would have got the news out sooner but my phone was left on the Isle of Yell

Ian
 

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Ian Hay

Well-known member
A couple of reports suggest the Humpback is back, I never did beleive it had reached Channory Point by 630 last Friday with so much food around the Aberdeen area.

Ian
 

Hotspur

James Spencer
United Kingdom
You can see the ridges on the upperside of the tail (terminology?) which allied to the fin shape rules out the other roquals - Humpback - very nice.
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
We get Humpbacks in the outer moray firth most years on the Norcet surveys with the trench north of Fraserburgh being a good place, this is on the Aberdeen Kirkwall route which is surveyed less often.

I suggest the they are not as rare as we think offshore but are responding to good amounts of food being present and coming closer in, if populations recover they may be normal 50 years from now given the habitat we have.

Also the dorsal fins do not look identical to me but that could just be the photo.

I think i may go and have a look this afternoon.

Ian
 

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