How to Spot a Whale
Most people do not realise how easy it is to see whales on the East Grampian coast however with a bit of luck and time you have a great chance.
What you will need
Binoculars, patience and good weather.
Where to look
You have a good chance anywhere but the Donmouth, Collieston and Fraserburgh Bay are good places.
When to go
Mid to late summer, a calm day is best. If there are white breaking waves leave it for another day.
What types of whales could I see
The vast majority of whales seen in East Grampian waters are Minkie whales which are small for a whale (about 7 meters) but do occur in good numbers and are still very impressive.
What to do
Firstly start to slowly scan the sea with your binoculars, you may be lucky and see a minkie whale surface at any time but mostly you are looking for large groups of feeding birds
Gulls, gannets and auks attack shoals of fish concentrating them into a dense ‘baitball’; this is what the whale is looking for. Quite often you will see several of these groups of birds, if you do scan from one group to the next and hopefully you will see all of the bird take off at once, then a couple of seconds later you will see the whale come up having swallowed the baitball whole.
Next look at the next two closest feeding groups of birds and see if the same thing happens again, if so you now know the direction of travel and you can watch as the whale slowly works its way along the coast.
Other things you might see
There is always something interesting to see from seabirds such as gannets that shine bright white in the sun, and Manx shearwaters that are dark on top and white underneath. Puffins and Guillemots will be flying past whilst porpoise, dolphins and basking sharks may also be seen.
What do I do if I see something interesting
Contact us and let us know. You could even write an account for the next EGCP newsletter.
Return of the Giants? An extract on whales from the 2012 EGCP newsletter - find out more about whales on the East Grampian Coast!
How to Spot a Whale