Visitors flock to see Forth humpback whale

Visitors are flocking to the south coast of Fife in the hope of catching a glimpse of the humpback whale which has taken up residence in the Forth.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 10:10 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
Whale watchers are flocking to Kinghorn and Pettycur
Whale watchers are flocking to Kinghorn and Pettycur

Watchers have been lining up along the seaside at Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Pettycur, Burntisland and Aberdour – and they have not been left disappointed.

The mammal, which is rare to these waters, seems keen to show off for the crowds - with many photographers and wildlife enthusiasts lucky enough to grab some breathtaking pictures of as it breaches spectacularly before disappearing once more beneath the waves.

Derek Abbott, Coastal Ranger with Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said that there has been a noticable increase in people looking for the whale.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Whale watchers are flocking to Kinghorn and Pettycur

“It does seem to be bringing a lot of people to the coast. I’ve seen a lot of groups watching for the whale.

“They don’t seem to be there all the time, it’s after there’s been a sighting and word gets about on social media, and they come down. It’s been that way for a few weeks. It’s bringing people to the area, but there are also a lot of local people on the lookout.”

It is thought that the whale is likely to be male due to its migratory behaviour, though this has yet to be confirmed.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue set up a mobile stall to educate whale watchers.

The whale just off Kinghorn

Paul Smith of the group, said they checked the whale when it first appeared in January, and it seemed to be in good health.

“It’s part of its migrating pattern, it would be heading up to its feeding ground off Iceland.

“But it’s stopped for a rest at Fife for its holidays.

“There are around six or seven humpback whales off the coast of the UK at any one time. But occasionally they come into inlets like this.

The whale was checked for signs of distress and found to be fine. Picture: BDMLR

“When there’s a sighting like this we normally check for the mammal out for signs of distress of entanglement. In this case there’s no entanglement or distress and it seems happy enough.”

“There’s obviously plenty to eat if it’s staying here, as these things need a lot of food. And it can also mean the water’s clean enough.”

Though only a single whale has been confirmed, there have been reports of a second in the area.

Stacey Salvona, who runs the Carousel Coffee Shop in Kinghorn, said that she saw two spouts near each other on Monday.

The BDMLR set up a stall to educate the public

She added: “We see him quite often here. There’s definitely a buzz about the place. Everyone that comes here talks about it.

“Sunday was very busy. Whenever there’s a spotting, people definitely come here looking for it. When it moved round to Pettycur Bay, all the cars in the car park followed it.

“It’s something I always wanted to see but didn’t expect to see it here.

“Every one seems to be behaving and not bothering the whale, so I hope that continues.”

Anyone who spots a marine animal that they are concerned about or have a general enquiry about BDMLR, please call 01825 765546 during office hours, or the out-of-hours rescue line on 07787 433412.

Whale watchers are flocking to Kinghorn and Pettycur
The whale just off Kinghorn
The whale was checked for signs of distress and found to be fine. Picture: BDMLR
The BDMLR set up a stall to educate the public