St Cyrus whale may be making a return visit to the East of Scotland

© Torsten Franke
A whale near St Cyrus.

The whale spotted off the Mearns coastline this week may be making a return visit to the east of Scotland according to a marine animal rescue organisation.

The humpback was as close as 10 metres from the beach at St Cyrus on Monday evening and has continued to be seen in the area this week.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) has been monitoring the whale and believes it may be one of the whales seen in the Ythan Estuary area last year.

Paul Smith, BDMLR area co-ordinator for Dundee, Angus and Perth, said: “Although a rare visitor it is not unknown for this species to visit eastern Scotland.

“There was a pair of humpbacks last year around the Aberdeen and Ythan Estuary areas.

“This is the fourth Humpback in the past year that we have monitored on the east coast, including the one in the Forth near Kinghorn at the start of the year.

“We believe that this is one of those whales from Ythan after comparing photos taken by BDMLR team members last year and the recent pictures of the Angus whale.

Mr Smith also urged people not to attempt to swim with or get too close to the whale due to its unpredictable nature.

He said: “We would warn of the dangers of being tempted to swim with the animal when it close into shore. These animals can grow up to 18 metres in length and 40 tonnes in weight.

“Although this one appears to be slightly smaller, it is still a significant size with an unpredictable nature.

“We would also strongly advise any boat or jet ski owners not to approach the animal as they are protected under various national and international wildlife laws that prevent disturbance and harassment of cetaceans which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.”

The group has also informed Montrose Port Authority about the whale’s presence. Mr Smith said normal shipping operations will continue as whales are used to boats and tend to avoid them.

He said that many local people, including BDMLR teams, were watching the whale and advised anyone witnessing any possible disturbance to contact police.

Mr Smith added: “We would say to the public, enjoy the spectacle of such a magnificent animal in our local waters but be respectful to the animal, watching from a safe distance on shore with binoculars and cameras.”

The St Cyrus whale was initially spotted by a group of German tourists on Monday evening who then informed staff at St Cyrus Nature Reserve.