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Cetaceans - Aberdeen and beyond (1 Viewer)

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Kevin Hepworth had Bottlenose Dolphin and Harour Porp at Girdleness this morning, together with the Minkie and the Humpback at 1530 4 species seen from the city today.

Best whale and dolphin watching city in Europe for watching from land? Let me know if you can think of anywhere better.

Kevin also had possible White Beak last night.

I am doing a Whale and Dolphin watch from the Bullars of Buchan on sunday at 2 with aberdeenshire rangers, all welcome.

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
I have talked to Kevin Hepworth and a boat owner in aberdeen and we have organised for a boat trip to go looking for the Humpback on Sunday Morning at 7am for 2 hours.

The aim is to get some photos that could be used to identify the animal ie the individual not the speices. If you are interested please send me a pm. The cost will be about £25 per person( Aberdeen prices i am afraid). This price is still in effect subsidised.

All the best

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
A few phpotos from the boat trip showing a few of our dolphins and an ex-salmon.

The big fin shot shows a good example of what is needed for an identification, when i find out who this is I will let you know. Also just in case anyone is wondering this trip was carried out in accordance with a SNH licence that allows us to get closer and stay longer than would normally be the case.

We may well run more trips focussing on the dolphins, let me know if you would be interested.

All the best

Ian


ps the dolphins were putting on a great display yesterday travelling south though Aberdeen Bay at 2pm
 

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TWM

Well-known member
A question. I was on the Plancius heading a long way north a couple of weeks ago and just abeam Fraserburgh we got a lot of action--seals, petrels etc and discovered that this was the 'Trench' off Fraserburgh--250metres deep. Can you confirm that Fraserburgh/Rosehearty is probably the best place to see anything from the land.
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
TWM

I think that area maybe a bit underwatched from the land but has potential, the CRU team know much more about that area. The trench is good and is often a high point on the boat surveys.


I was supposed to be out on a boat today but had to cancel which is a shame as Kevin Hepworth had Dolphins, Porps and a whale blow on the horizon. All watching from the Donmouth

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Norcet 1 to 4th July Ian Hay and Gus Guthrie

Having boarded the Hildasay and enjoyed an excellent meal, Tina the steward (and legend) suggested that we get to the bridge quickly so we could see the dolphins at the Harbour Entrance before laughing at the prospect of us seeing anything else!

Sadly on the first count she was wrong, the harbour entrance was clear of Dolphins although expectations where still high given the numbers of sea birds feeding and the recent sightings. However by Peterhead we had only seen on whale sp. dispite near perfect conditions.

When we reached the trench (well valley) north of Fraserbugh things picked up again with a couple of porps and a Minkie, Having passed the hot spot we were not expecting much more until a group of unidentified dolphins started breaching behind us, sadly they were to far away (AWSD is my strong suspicion). The last sighting of the day was a lone common dolphin travelling fast and acrobatically towards the bow.

The next leg started at 4 am as we were leaving Orkney, this was either going to be a red letter day or nothing, sadly nothing was seen despite good conditions.

We arrived in Lerwick at 10am, enjoyed one of Tina's breakfasts and picked up the hire car. We had 3 choices, head north to fetlar, picking up my coat and phone on Yell, watch Simon King launch the Shetland nature Festival and try to lobby him to film the dolphins in Aberdeen or go and see the Long Tailed Skua so Gus had a new lifer. Fetlar was chosen. We arrived just in time for the boat to Yell and quickly boarded, very lucky, we thought. Just as we left the port Gus got a text - 7 Orca heading south past Boddam.

I have been doing these trips for 10 years and still have not caught up with Orca on Shetland, I have seen quite a few Orca elsewhere but still dream of seeing the close up drama of Orca hunting in the bays and geos of shetland. (I have just see the Photos on the Shetland Nature Website and feel sick).

We also dipped again on the Phalaropes and the planned boat trips to Mousa for Stormies was cancelled despite good weather, this was disappointing for Gus has this is a bird he has not seen, and even worse, his daughter has!!!

A unconformable night was spent in the car at Sumbrough Head however this did produce an wonderful sight, midnight on Shetland in poor weather seams to be the right conditions for Puffin watching as every bird on sumburgh head seamed to be at the end of their burrows, the numbers were incredible, I would guess that i saw x20 what I have ever seen there during the day.

Sunday produced good views of the long tailed skua but no news of any more Orca.

The first leg of the trip home gave us only 3 Porps and a Stormie for Gus. The next morning was better with a group of 8 Risso's including a very athletic youngster. More unidentified Dolphins(WBD i think) were seen and very nice veiws of porps. We even had a welcoming committee at the harbour with 2 BND.

So 5 species of cetacean identified and 2 feathered lifers for Gus, not a bad trip at all. However I do think that my quota of good luck was used up with that Humpback in the Harbour! One day i will see my Shetland Orcas.

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Alan Knox a very well respected local birder had a large whale whilst Seawatching at Colliestone. From his description it sounded more like a Sei Whale than a Humpback. Well worth keeping a look out if you are in the area.

All the best

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Huge whale spotted at Colieston

Kevin Hepworth has just called to say there is a very big whale at Collieston. He discribed a very tall thin blow, (about half as tall as the Northlink ferry that was passing close by) and a very long back. interestigly no dorsal fin was seen but it was about 3 miles off shore and conditions were not ideal.

Sounds like one of the big three with Fin being the most likely i guess. Please let me know if anyone else sees it, I will have a look on Thursday.

Ian
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Had a look around early this morning, 12 Bottlenose Dolphins at the Harbour Mouth, 30+ white beaked Dolphins from the Fog Horn heading south at speed, some wonderful leaps from the small ones, 2 porps, also Minkie from Winnyfold, excellent morning normally but no sign of the big one.

Ian
 

pandachris

Well-known member
Ian

I feel that White-beaked Dolphins are a gaping hole in our list of UK cetacea and having watched this thread for some time have decided that a trip north east is warranted (I've given up on the idea of the Brittany Ferry to Santander this year). Any idea where a good place to stay would be? We'll have a vehicle so can try a number of spots and will almost certainly aim for several days/nights, weather and sea conditions permitting.

Cheers

Chris
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Chris

Great, I hope you enjoy your visit. WBD are stunning and worth the effort.

Stonehaven would be a good bet as a base, Aberdeen is also good but can be pricey and hard to find a room, anywhere south of Stonehaven if you are struggling, there is a B and B at St Cyrus that has great views over the bay.

As for seeing WBD i would suggest any headland from Caterline to Peterhead. Girdleness in Aberdeen is a good place to start looking out from the fog horn, other good spots are the bridge over the railway just north of Cove, Newtonhill, Stonehaven bay and Catterline. Todd head my well be a good bet for Risso's, if the squid boats are in there is a good chance.

North of the city Collieston and the Bullars of Buchan are well worth a try.

If you get calm weather then you should have a very good chance. Their are no organised boat trips however there may be a lifeboat day trip, I will let you know if i hear more. Also if desperate i may be able to sort something with one of the fishermen.

One last thing, best to get here soon as the will be hard to see once we get to September. Any other questions just ask, also please let me know what you see.

Ian Hay
 

pandachris

Well-known member
Thanks Ian, really useful info. I had a look at Stonehaven as an option and was also thinking about Fraserburgh for this trench that has been mentioned a few times.

I'm aiming for the week of 24th August for four or five nights, depending upon a few personal things I'd like to get sorted out. Just me for the week days and my g/f will fly up for the long weekend. We'll be happy to see any cetaceans, of course, and so I'll be keeping an eye on forecasts, but WBD are the big draw. No Orcas, though - that's the only species I've got on Julie and I don't want to lose that advantage :)
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
The trench at fraserburgh is to far out at about 9 miles so not so good for land watching.

Will talk soon, off on my hols now

Ian
 

pandachris

Well-known member
I've booked 4 nights with an option on a 5th at the Royal in Stonehaven. They do an early breakfast which is a bonus. I've also put an offer of a lift in the "twitchers" thread further up, in case anyone else is heading north from this part of the world.

Weather permitting I should have pretty much all of Thursday and Friday (need to pick Julie up at Dyce at about 19:30) and then Saturday and Sunday depending upon how busy things are during which I hope to spend a lot of time looking at the sea. I'll be birding as well, of course and hoping to get Sooty Shearwater for my British list.
 

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