Thursday, 2 September 2010

Minke Whales!

Yesterday was AMAZING!!!!! The sea was flat and calm and perfect for looking for whales and dolphins, so I decided to peer at the sea for a bit to see what was about. Within five minutes of arriving on the clifftops I spotted two minke whales very close to shore. I was gobsmacked! I have seen minke whales before but on most occasions I only got a few brief glimpses and then they disappeared. These whales just kept coming back though, patrolling up and down St. Abb's Head for over two hours! Sometimes I could hear them exhaling and on two occasions one was so close to shore that I could see its white markings under the water. I could actually see it swimming underwater and see where it was going to surface next!!!

There are a few cetacean species that can be seen from St. Abb's Head. Sightings in recent years have included minke whales, bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise and rissos dolphins. Minke whales are much larger than the others though, growing up to 10m in length. You see very little of its body when it surfaces. The tip of its snout breaches first, its dorsal fin is set quite far back on its body and you don't see its tail at all. They have quite a distinctive dive sequence too. They tend to surface several times in a row then they disappear for a while.

Anyway, this is the best time of year to see them so get out there and have a look!

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