“That’s a big dorsal fin…”; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 10/08/2013

by on Aug.21, 2013, under Birdwatching, North Sea, Northumberland, White-beaked Dolphin, Wildlife

Sometimes things go right, sometimes things go wrong, and sometimes things go just right and completely wrong all at the same time…

We set sail from Beadnell with a full boat, and stopped just outside the harbour to ask a local yachtsman if he’d seen any whales or dolphins during the day.  “Yes, White-beaked Dolphins, about 6 of them, 3 miles E of Boulmer…6 hours ago”.  Even though his sighting was before lunchtime, it was still encouraging news, particularly as our plan was to head south as far as Boulmer anyway.

Gannets, Fulmars, Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins were soon spotted and then, as we headed from Craster towards Boulmer, Andy spotted a dark shape away to the east.  We stopped and waited, then it surfaced again.  Guessing where it would surface next I lifted my binoculars and then almost dropped them as the centrally-placed, upright, dorsal fin of an Orca passed across my field of view!  I’m notoriously sceptical of claims of Orca in the north east but, with over 1000h offshore, I always thought I’d bump into one eventually 🙂 I needed a longer lens on my camera so I reached into my camera bag, took out a 300mm f2.8, removed the 70-200 from the camera…and then broke the camera lens mount as I tried to attach the longer lens 🙁  As the distant dark shape appeared again, still heading slowly north, we suddenly had White-beaked Dolphins close by too.  Eventually we had ~20 of them close to the boat, and I was stuck with one broken camera and a spare camera body that had decided that it wasn’t going to communicate properly with the lens.  I managed to get a few record shots of the dolphins, and planned to set my alarm for early on Sunday morning so I could try to sort out camera issues before heading offshore on a North East Cetacean Project survey.

White-beaked Dolphin,Northumberland,North Sea,North Sea Pelagics,Dolphin watching North Sea,Dolphin watching Northumberland,Whale watching North Sea,Whale watching Northumberland

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