Northern bottlenose whales off Scotland

This video from the Sea Watch Foundation in Britain is called Northern Bottlenose Whale Species Identification.

From the Nebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in Scotland:

Northern Bottlenose Whales Inshore off Skye

A pair of northern bottlenose whales has been seen since Friday in Loch Slapin: a sea loch on the southwestern coast of Skye. Highland Council Countryside Ranger Ellie MacLennan spotted and identified the whales while walking last Friday 16 October. Ellie reported the whales to HWDT and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (as there is always the risk that deep-diving whales in shallow waters are at risk of stranding alive).

To date, it seems as though the pair of whales (possibly a mother and calf/juvenile) are doing well despite concern that they are in shallow waters. They were last seen heading towards deeper water on Sunday 18 October. Northern bottlenose whales are a deep-diving species belonging to the poorly known family of beaked whales that usually inhabit offshore waters. This particular species occasionally turns up in inshore waters particularly during the autumn months. Of all the beaked whales, northern bottlenose whales are the most likely to occur inshore and may spend days or even weeks close to the coast before moving on (e.g. Broadford Bay in 1998…).

Although the migration routes taken by species are still poorly understood, it is believed that they migrate between colder waters (where they spend summer) to the north of here, and warmer waters to the south. The peak in sightings and strandings in the west of Scotland between August and October each year fits with an inshore southbound route, where some enter the Minches and even the Inner Sound / Sound of Raasay around Skye.

A big thanks to Ellie MacLennan for the images and sighting reports.

9 thoughts on “Northern bottlenose whales off Scotland

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