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Whale watchers flock to Fife from across UK to spot huge humpback

Ronnie Mackie has been out watching the whale since it arrived.
Ronnie Mackie has been out watching the whale since it arrived.

Whale watchers from across the UK have visited Fife to catch a glimpse of a humpback whale feeding in the Firth of Forth.

The large animal has been feeding in the Forth since the beginning of December and can regularly be spotted surfacing from the shoreline.

Fifer Ronnie Mackie, who is an amateur whale watcher, has been helping groups to spot the whale from nearby Kinghorn and Pettycurr Bay.

He explained that a large number of sprats are in the Forth, giving the whale plenty to feed on.

“We get people coming from all over the UK when they see there is a whale around,” he said.

“It’s a humpback whale, it’s probably a sub-adult but it has not been completely classified.

Locals catch ‘spectacular glimpse’ of humpback in Forth

“There’s quite a lot of sprats around, so it’s coming in and feeding on shoals of sprats.”

Ronnie explained winter is a common time to see whales in the Forth, but they normally appear in January or February. Other species, like bottlenose dolphins, have also been known to visit.

“We have had whales in November before and we’ve also seen them as early as August,” he said.

The humpback arrived at the beginning of December.

“We’ve probably had a bigger range of species this year than any other year that we have been recording,” he added.

Ronnie said it was a “spectacular” sight to watch the whale, even from a distance.

He said anybody watching from the shore can do so safely without disrupting the animal or causing problems.

Whale watching safely in Fife

“If you are watching from a boat, either go with a reputable operator or ask if they follow the WiSe regulations,” Ronnie said.

“That is the recognised watching method, and you can ask if operators have taken part in the courses to learn about handling boats around them.”

You can see a list of WiSe accredited operators in Tayside and Fife here.

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