Whale and Dolphin spotters along the Moray coast have been put on alert after five Minke Whales were spotted close to Burghead.
The whales were picked out by the local co-ordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation, Alan Airy, who said that at first he thought he was seeing hump-back whales.
Now the foundation are appealing to people out walking the coastline to keep a special watch out for whale activity and report any sightings to them.
Mr Airy said that for a few seconds he thought his sighting was a hump-back until a slight swell rolled down its body to reveal its full fin. He added: “Large creatures such as fin whales are part of the UK’s fauna and most people are oblivious to their presences.
“A mammal even the size of a porpoise would cause a stir on land – but under the sea they go unnoticed.”
Sightings officer for the Sea Watch Foundation, Kathy James, urged the public to report any further sightings: “Minkes measure seven to ten meters so this will have been a spectacular sight.
“We would urge people along the coast of Moray to keep a look out for more whale activity and report it to us so that we can establish whether this fin whale sighting is a one-off.”
The Moray Firth provides rich feeding areas for Minke Whales during the summer and autumn months and previous studies have shown that the whales can appear in considerable numbers from May to October.
Reports of whale, dolphin and porpoise sightings can be reported online via the Sea Watch Foundation Website.