How to identify a Sei Whale

Since I published the post on visiting the Albatross in Yorkshire and the Sei whale in Scotland I’ve had a couple of conversations about how to recognize Sei Whale from other similar cetaceans. I did a composite photo with some tell tale detail for another social media site, so I’ve repeated it again here. I feel sure some Minke Whale sightings in the UK are in fact Sei Whales and perhaps this species is being overlooked and is not as rare here as we may suppose.

Minke is much smaller than Sei. So size is important but is so difficult to judge at sea. However, there are three other important differences that are easier to judge

1 The Blow – A Minke’s blow is rarely visible. Sei blow habitually.

2 The dorsal fin – A Sei whale has a scythe like fin on its back and although a Minke whale’s fin is similar it is never as ‘hooked’ as a Sei Whale.

3 The dive sequence – A Minke will bend in the water, arch over and ‘dive’. A Sei Whale will just ‘sink’ horizontally as shown by the progression of photos.

Oh! and while we’re talking ‘cetacean’ a reminder the Sea Watch Foundation National Whale and Dolphin Watch is in progress. Tania and I will be on the cliff just east of Weybourne car park on TUESDAY 27th JULY from 10am to 4pm if you care to join us at any time. The weather is forecast to be mixed so please bring wet weather clothing just in case.

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Jul 2021


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