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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Humpback Whale off Horsey Gap

On Wednesday 30th October having followed the tweets of a series of sightings of a Humpback Whale swimming north in the sea between Scratby and Sea Palling rather enviously. I awaited tweets on my morning off, would it be ever be seen again? (I had TOIL from working to 7pm the previous evening) and looking at BirdGuides at 9.30am it was seen off North Winterton I tweeted out and drove up to Great Yarmouth where I picked up Keith D, who was fortunately in regular contact with Barry J. A good tip from Barry was to look for the circling Gannets and it was usually directly below them. Barry J advised us to go to Horsey Gap as it was swimming slowly north. By 10.30am, we parked at the car park at Horsey Gap and we walked hurriedly up to the top of the mound over looking the sea, where we saw a small group of 5 people peering intently out to sea. It was the Whale, We looked far out to sea just below the horizon at about 2 o'clock and suddenly I saw the watery blow from its blow hole, the blow of water was bushy in shape and around 3 metres high in length, then I saw its black back and small stubby dorsal fin with the pronounced hump in front of the fin clearly seen, the whole body the arched up, the tail stock could be seen but not the whole tail or fluking. It was the magnificent Humpback Whale, an absolutely superb beast, an ambition realised to see a big whale species and one I never expected to see off the East Anglian coast! Plus a brand new Cetacean species ticked off and definitely my biggest to date! The Whale was swimming south and then north, going around in broad circles obviously fishing, twice for example the more triangular shaped head was seen poking out of the water. The Whale then appeared to swim closer in and the now familiar sequence of blow, then the dorsal fin and back appearing, followed by the arching of its back then the tail stock and then it was gone again. It started to swim north to around 11 o'clock on the horizon. It then turned and started to swim south just below the horizon. Its position could be seen by the number of circling Gannets initially there were just 3 but later on there were around 10- 15. The absolutely superb Humpback Whale at one point appeared to half breach out of the water, although try as I might I couldn't see the long fins. Grey Seals were also seen one further out and one close to shore. We finally saw it appearing to swim purposefully south and was back to the 3 o'clock on the horizon. By 11.25am, I really had to leave (in at work at 12 noon), it was really good to see Roy H & John H plus John W. I dropped off Keith at Asda on the way back and was back at work at 12.05pm! No pics as the Whale was a little too far out for my camera plus the limited time to observe it. Big thanks to Barry J for his regular updates, thanks also to those who tweeted, to Rene B for his call & advice and to Keith D for accompanying me this morning on a fabulous trip!

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