Buiobuione, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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Recently The Yorkshire Post reported an orca spotted less than three miles off an RSPB reserve in the county. A “huge, tall, vertical dorsal” was seen multiple times from the Grandstand viewpoint at the Bempton Cliffs reserve, near Bridlington; the first time an orca has been seen off the coast of Yorkshire since 2007. The sighting has since been picked up by other papers and news outlets with more than a little excitement. It is believed the orca in question was a male, though being such social creatures it can’t be ruled out that he was travelling with other individuals. In fact, birdwatcher Andy Hood, quoted in The Yorkshire Post, said that the orca appeared to be in a group with minke whales, which have also been spotted in record numbers in the area this year.

While the Sea Watch Foundation has reported a number of sightings in UK waters this year, and there is a resident community of eight adult orcas living off the coast of northern Scotland, it is rare for them the venture into the North Sea. The work being done to manage North Sea fish stocks is thought to be one possible reason behind the sightings of larger ocean mammals as one of their food sources gradually recovers.

There have also been discussions in recent years about the possibility of larger ocean mammals instinctively finding their way back to their old haunts and migration routes, ones they used before we hunted and starved them into near extinction. This latest sighting is another reason to hope that these theories might be coming true. At least that’s one good reason to live in the UK!

Saturday August 19th, 2023
Sea-Life Conservation Tours

Wildlife Sea Safaris - Ethical, conservation orientated, WiSe trained and SeaWatch Foundation recomended. Operating off the coast of South Devon, from Brixham.

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