Yesterday we saw two Minke whales, potentially three. They were very active surfacing regularly, often close to the boat. One of the whales even breached (lifted its whole head out of the water and splashed back down)!
The minke whale is the smallest baleen whale species found in UK waters (baleen whales include blue whales, fin whales and humpback whales amongst others) and the most common whale species to be found in shallower water close to land. When they feed they expand their pleated throats to take in huge amounts of water, pushing the water back out through their baleen plates that they have in place of teeth and swallowing the fish left in their mouths. Minke whales average in size between 7 and 10 metres and most sightings will show their two blowholes followed by their back and small sickle shaped dorsal fin near the back of their body. They also have distinctive white bands across their pectoral fins but this can only be seen at close range.
With a few Minke whale sightings a week over the last month, this has been our best year ever for Minke whale sightings. In addition to the many dolphin sightings we have had most days, this is great news as seeing so many top predators in the area is a sign of a healthy food chain, showing that our nearby waters that were once heavily trawled are now bouncing back and full of life!