FORVIE Nature Reserve enjoyed a stopover from some rare visitors on Sunday, as a group of humpbacked whales swam off the coast.
Visitors to Hackley Bay at the reserve were treated to a good view of the giants, who migrate south in the summer to their breeding grounds. The three humpbacks - which range from 40 to 50 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons - swam about a mile off the Forvie coast, surfacing and spouting water through their blow holes. The whales were first spotted by visitors last week.
Humpbacks are often found near coastlines. They only feed in summer, when they feast on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton and small fish. In winter, the mammals fast, and live off their accumulated fat reserves.
Almost hunted to extinction over the course of the 19th century for their blubber and meat, the world humpback population has rebounded since that time and the species is no longer considered to be endangered.
Forvie Reserve manager, Annabel Drysdale, told the Times that the visitors were very welcome to return.
“It was so exciting to see humpbacks on our own doorstep, and it was wonderful to see everyone at Forvie really enjoying this incredible experience,” she said. “We’re hoping to see the whales back again soon!”
Ian Hay, East Grampian Coastal Partnership project officer, added: “The last year has been amazing for large whales with humpback, sperm and fin whales being seen in the local area.”