20 juli 2015 – De Irish Whale and Dolphin Group kreeg foto’s van een vermoedelijk Beloega voor de kust van Noord-Ierland.
These mystery images are quite likely to be of a beluga or white whale photographed yesterday 20th July by Gordon Watson off Dunseverick, Co. Antrim in N. Ireland. If this sighting is confirmed, this will be only the 2nd confirmed record of this Arctic species from Irish waters since IWDG first started recording cetaceans in 1991. The difference however being that these would be the first images of this extra limital vagrant in Irish waters. The other option would be an albino or leucistic sperm whale, but the absence of their unique forward and left leaning blow, and this specimens smaller size make this a less likely option. Typically sperm whales are recorded well offshore and tend to be solitary adult (and very large) bulls.
The SeaWatch Foundation sightings database confirms beluga have been recorded on 10 occasions since 1964, and most of these sighting records are from Northern or NW Scotland or Northern England. The last record was from 2007. So even at much higher latitudes such as the Orkneys or Shetland, sightings of beluga are extremely rare events. We’ll keep you posted if there is any update on this fascinating account. If you think you may have further images or video evidence of this animal from yesterday or today, IWDG would really appreciate the opportunity to view it.