Orkney has been on ‘Orca Alert’ over the past few days with some regular sightings in waters surrounding the islands.
It’s not an unusual occurrence – pods of orcas can often be seen in the sea around Orkney during the summer months – but it always creates a buzz of excitement within the local wildlife watching community and visitors to the county.
This week has been the busiest of the year so far for sightings. On Monday a pod of nine or so orcas was seen near the island of Eynhallow, heading east towards Finstown. They were eventually tracked to the bay near Kirkwall Airport where Gail Zawadski captured these fantastic images.
I had decided to drive to Rerwick Head, east of the Airport, expecting the pod to continue along the coastline of Orkney's mainland. I found a sheltered spot on the small cliffs with the looming remains of the WWII gun battery behind me, supremely confident I would get my own photos of the orcas as they swam past.
After half an hour of waiting I realised it wasn’t going to happen, but during that single journey from Kirkwall to Tankerness in the East Mainland I managed to spot a pheasant, ducks, plenty of inquisitive gulls and shags skimming the surface of the sea. Here are some of the images from Rerwick - wildlife is all around you in Orkney!
There have been sightings of orcas reported in the Pentland Firth near Burwick in South Ronaldsay, in Scapa Flow close to Flotta and off Westray in the last 48 hours or so. The Orkney Wildlife group on Facebook is the perfect place to keep up to date with any updates, just incase you want to grab the camera and head to your own lookout point for a glimpse of these incredible creatures.
Hopefully you’ll have more luck than me!