Orcas around Assynt

July 9th 2012

Orcas around Assynt

Since first being sighted off Stoer Head Lighthouse on 18th June 2012 a pod of up to eight Orcas, or Killer Whales, has regularly been seen off Clachtoll, Raffin and Culkein Stoer. However on 27th June Leigh Sedgley, who operates Living the Dream food van at the Lighthouse car park, had a superb view of a huge adult male and a much smaller female.

Both animals were just out from the rocks below the car park. At one point the female swam between the rocks, perhaps looking for the Common Seals which are regularly seen there.

Leigh was able to take some photographs which she sent to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in Tobermory. The dorsal fins on Orcas are useful identification aids as they receive cuts and damage over the years. A good photograph will allow individuals to be recognised by researchers.

The Trust replied to Leigh to say that initial analysis of the fins suggested that the Orcas were part of a group more usually seen off the north east of Scotland. The male is known as ‘Hulk’ with one of the females in the group known as ‘Mousa’.

It appears that the BBC’s One Show were looking to do a story on these Orca. They left it too late as the last sighting locally was on 27th June! Subsequent sightings have been further south.

But keep an eye open for Orcas around Assynt, and please let Assynt Field Club know about any sightings.


David Haines

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Recent Sightings

Manx Shearwater

27 birds off Bay of Clachtoll (DAH) (16/06)

Harbour Porpoise

Mother and calf off Stoer Head Lighthouse (DAH) (15/06)

Small Magpie moth (Anania hortulata)

Single moth in garden, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). This is only the second ever record of this micro-moth in the West Sutherland recording area, VC108. The first record was on 1st June this year in the garden of the County Moth Recorder in Melvich on the north coast. However, this does make it the first ever record for Assynt. Photo Gallery - Moths. (14/06)

Golden Plover

Eight birds over Clachtoll (DAH) (13/06)


Single bird flying over garden, Ardvar (Beccy Garvey) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly, Nedd (Stefan Taylor) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly recently emerged at Glen Leraig (AS) (11/06)

Barn Owl

Single bird hunting over croft land, near Stoer primary school (Jane Livingstone) (11/06)