Here is a picture of quite a small Minke whale which we saw this week. It was really exciting as he (or she) decided to get quite close to the boat at one stage. We think this is quite a young Minke whale and that it is still with its mother, they don’t need to be close physically in the water as they can communicate over long distances underwater. They make noises which can be as loud as 152 decibels which is louder than a jet plane taking off!
Minke whales are the smallest of the Baleen whales, they sieve the ocean through their baleen which is made of the same material as our nails and hair! Eventually this whale will grow up to 30ft long and weigh 6-8 tonnes but he (or she) has a bit to go to get to that size and we hope to see this whale lots more this summer and over a lot of years to come!
Did you know that Cetaceans is the collective word for dolphins, whales and porpoises? It comes from the Greek word ketos which means ‘a large sea creature’. They are all mammals like us so we can see them on the surface when they come up to breathe. We have had really good sightings of porpoises which is very exciting as it means all the good feeding is coming nearer the surface and that means our next visitors will be whales as they follow the fish around! We have also seen lots of dolphins this spring, the picture below is of a bottlenose dolphin which is the type we see here most often. Dolphins are like us forming social groups and they love to play. Sometimes they will poke their heads out of the water just to have a look at us as we are looking at them, this is called spy-hopping. Its a great time to be out on the water, come and join us.
Telling seals apart:
Here on the west coast of Scotland we have two types of seal, common (or harbour) seals and grey seals. Almost every day on our boat trips you will get sightings of both types which is great but how do you tell them apart?
Well here are a couple of pictures, it is always helpful if you can to look at a seal sideways on, it makes it much easier with identification because the real difference between the seals when you look at them like that is where the eyes are on the face. The first picture is of a grey seal, you can see that it has a long “Roman” nose, the eyes are set quite far back from the nostrils about half way along the skull and the whole face is quite long. The next picture is of a common seal, the eyes and nostrils are much closer together, eyes about a third of the way back and the face is much shorter and quite like a spaniel. Generally common seals are also quite a bit smaller than greys, however although they are called “common” they are fewer in overall number than the greys. We are really lucky here to have healthy populations of both types