Mesmerising photographs show humpback whales spotted off Northumberland Coast

Photographs show two humpback whales which have been spotted off Northumberland Coast.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 5:34 pm

The whales, which can grow to 16 metres long, were spotted off the North East coast on Sunday, January 31, and Monday, February 1, by North East Cetacean Project (NECP) members.

Onlookers say two humpback whales were spotted - with one image showing three Bottlenose dolphins heading towards a whale as it exhales before surfacing.

It is not unheard of for humpback whales to be spotted off the North East coast but there is normally just one or two recorded sightings a year.

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The humpback whales were spotted of the Northumberland Coast. Pictures by North East Cetacean Project

Martin Kitching, North East Regional Officer at MARINElife who coordinates NECP, said: “A few of our members can take their daily exercise along the coast which is how we found out about the whales.

"I was out for a walk on Sunday morning and my phone was going crazy which is when I saw all of the photographs.

"At first we thought it could have been a sperm whale which would have been really worrying – if they’re spotted of our coastline so close to shore they are generally in a lot of trouble.

"We were sent a few more photographs and we realised it was a humpback whale.”

Three Bottlenose dolphins follow a whale as it exhales. Pictures by North East Cetacean Project

In 2019, a juvenile humpback whale had sadly died and washed up on the Northumberland Coast thankfully the two whales spotted recently were seen actively feeding in the area.

The exact location has not been shared as the project hopes to deter visitors from heading to the region’s coastline during a lockdown.

"I was absolutely gutted,” said Martin, who lives near Bedlington. "I was out for a walk when I found out and in normal circumstances I would have abandoned my wife and left her to do the walk on her own so I could get to the coast.

"A humpback whale is still quite rare to see in Northumbrland – we get maybe one or two sightings a year.

Pictures by North East Cetacean Project

"We’ve had sightings of dolphins etc during previous lockdown and people have flocked to the coast to see them. We’re trying to avoid this and would urge people only to come to the coast when it becomes safe to do so.”

The NECP was set up to generate up-to-date information on the status of cetaceans off the Northumberland coastline.

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Pictures by North East Cetacean Project