Archive for Apr 14th, 2015


Humpback off Norfolk

It always happens when you aren’t there doesn’t it? On Sunday the 12th April as I was stood at the top of Cairngorm watching Snow Buntings and looking for Ptarmigan Kayn Forbes was lucky enough to film a cetacean in difficult windy conditions off Kelling.

Initially the still from the footage broadcast on twitter did look something like an Orca; but the markings and supposed body shading was all wrong for that species. Orca has occurred off Norfolk in the distant past but no proven recent records exist. (two recent records were unproven) Orca is not currently showing on the Norfolk mammal list but on historical evidence it will be shorty … a paper has been submitted for publication in the next Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report giving undeniable evidence of a record in the late 1800’s. Since the paper was written even older records have come to light so Orca must be a distinct possibility again off Norfolk at some point in the future.

Kayn’s video shows a large animal tail slapping at 5secs, 37secs, 1:12secs and 1:59secs. Blue Fin Tuna (very rare now) and Basking Shark (yes they do breach!) can be eliminated as on two occasions (53secs and 1:41secs) in the video a distinct blow can be seen – these things are always difficult to see in strong winds and to be fair Kayn did well to get footage at all given the obvious distance and choppy conditions. A further back arch giving an impression of Humpback can be seen at 1:42secs just after the second blow. Tail shape also seems to give an impression of Humpback and the tail slapping behaviour is quite typical of that species.

Although not definitive I think we can say Norfolk has had a humpback heading west off the north shore this last weekend. Cracking sighting that I wish I’d been there to see.

Back Arch Humpback

copywrite to Kayn Forbes

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Apr 2015


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