View Full Version : Risso's Dolphin

06-May-08, 22:12
Seen around the Caithness Coast at Thurso Bay and Lybster.
Now quite Common in the Spring and Summer Months.
Quite a large Dolphin at around 10ft and can appear white from lots of Scarring caused when they mate.
Picture taken from the Swiney Hill viewpoint at Lybster 2007


10-May-08, 19:38
Five Risso's off Lybster today 14.20.
Watched them for about 90 minutes and got a few pictures.
Some splashing and one leapt clear of the water (breaching)
Last seen heading North along the coast.


14-May-08, 21:47
Two Risso's off Lybster this evening going West into the Moray Firth.
Sighted at 18.42 when one was leaping clear of the water.
Although i got some snaps they didn't leap while i had the camera on them.


Just had a txt from kas over in Thurso, Risso's Dolphin seen in Thurso Bay.

15-May-08, 22:52
Only one Risso's this evening and that spent more time under water than on the surface.
Stayed in the area for 30 minutes before vanishing to the East last seen at 19.55hrs
3 Harbour Porpoise seen close in shore, look very much like the residential family group that i've been watching for the last 3 years.


18-May-08, 19:51
2 harbour Porpoise feeding 300m off shore at Lybster, visible from the viewpoint at Swiney Hill 11am until 11.30am when i lost sight of them.

3 Risso's Dolphins swam slowly past around 500m out at 12.15pm heading West lost sight of them at 13.00hrs


22-Jun-08, 11:00
Lybster 2008
10th Feb x8-10.....10th May x5 .....14th May x2.......15th May x1......18th May x3
1st June x5......21st June x1
Thurso Bay
26th May x1
Holborn Head
5th May x4-5
Pentland Firth near Stroma
5th May x11

Colin Bird
Sea Watch Goup Coordinator NE

03-Jul-08, 23:59
5 in Thurso bay most of the evening on 30.06.08.

29-Jul-08, 17:48
June 3 sightings at Lybster 1.6.08. 21.6.08 30.6.08

July 1 sighting at Lybster 27.7.08
2 sightings at Thurso 13.7.08 14.7.07
1 sighting at Gills Bay 27.7.08
1 sighting at Scarfskerry 26.7.08

08-Aug-08, 22:12
The angling boat Honestas saw them earlier this week while fishing in Thurso Bay and I saw 4 or 5 this evening put on a good show.

12-Aug-08, 21:00
I saw 5 this evening just off the Clett rock at Holborn Head. Looked like 4 adults and a juv, as 4 were Grey with a lot of scarring and one was dark with no scarring.
A big thanks to Silverline angling who saw them whilst out angling and let me know. Cheers;);)

20-Aug-08, 17:42
Risso's Dolphin 8oo meters off Lybster at 13.55hrs today 20-8-08.
The Dolphin breached and almost collided with creel boat WK29.
The dolphin was last seen heading West.


16-Mar-09, 20:27
11.39 3 Large Dolphins seen to the East of Lybster heading East.
It was very hard to work out what species they were even with 20x80 binoculars.
But what i did see suggest they were probably Risso's Dolphins.
One Dolphin breached giving me a clear view of it's outline.
It had a very large dorsal and the front was very rounded and bulbus, this is what i would expect for a Risso's.


17-Mar-09, 20:51
More dolphin activity at Lybster.
It was 2hrs wait before the first sighting at 13.45
3 dolphins leaping and splashing about 1 mile out going with the tide westward.
Not sure of species but the dorsals suggested Risso's.
With the tide turning at 15.18 if it was Risso's i knew they would return.
16.00hrs saw a lone Dolphin 1 mile out to the East going East drat! missed them so i thought.
Then 100 meters from me a single dolphin swam slowly past at 16.25, i was just thinking to myself where have all the Risso's that come in close gone.
It was well worth waiting fore.




02-Apr-09, 22:32
Just after 6pm a group of Risso's Dolphins headed West past Lybster into the Bay opposit Latheron.
I watched them through binoculars as they played leaping and splashing, tail slapping and even a backward flip.
They started to leave at 7.50pm and the last one passed me at 8pm.
There were at least 3 very large dolphins and a number of slightly smaller dolphins.
I counted about 8 but there could have been more.
These pictures show the last one to pass me on it's way East
Light was quite poor by this time.



Sea watch Group

18-Apr-09, 22:08
This evening at 17.18hrs a group of at least 3 Risso's Dolphins passed the viewpoint at Swiney Hill, Lybster.
I heard them rather than saw them first.
They have a very load snort when surfacing to breathe.
They were about 150 meters off shore, so i was able to get the following pics of 2 of them.




18-Apr-09, 22:16



21-Apr-09, 22:32
At least 3 Rissos in Thurso Bay last night around six forty five. First one I spotted was logging which meant it was sitting at the surface still with its dorsal visible out of the water. Sadly I only spotted them five minutes before I had to leave for a meeting so:~(. It was a perfect night for seawatching. Still it is my first dolphin sighting of the year which is great. :D

We couldnt have Lybster showing Thurso up any longer!!!!
Only kidding Seabird.

21-Apr-09, 22:39
Those latest photos are the best yet buddy. The ones with the calf are fantastic and its colour is something like a Belugas around the bulbous head, is that a little type of beak it has??

Here is to many more and hopefully the group will stay in your area for the season. These are amazing animals and their behaviour can be spectacular when they get going.

26-Apr-09, 17:01
Risso's x 4 Reported at Holborn Head Thursday Evening 23-4-09 by Kas.
No pics because her camera is still not back from repair.

Risso's off Lybster Saturday 25-4-09 10.36.
Small light grey calf seen with mother.
2 other Dolphins also seen, but to far out for a clear identification.


02-May-09, 22:10
Another 2 passed through the bay yesterday afternoon heading east. Lens back on Tuesday and I will probably never get the chance I got last week to photograph them. So I will have to come to Lybster me's thinks.

05-May-09, 21:11
I had quick glimpses of two this evening in the swell beyond the Lighthouse.
Seabird had some at Lybster too and I am sure will have a photo or two to show soon.

06-May-09, 00:12
Your right Kas.
I had no intentions of looking for cetaceans tonight, but after getting a txt from Kas i thought it might be worth a look at Lybster.
Sky was grey it was raining far from ideal, but at least the sea was flat with just a gentle ripple.
Never quite reached the seat before i got a sighting in the area best described as Lybster Bay.
They were about 800 meters away.
I managed to get their attention and the swam toward me and turned away at about 75meters.
Curiosity is a wondrous thing and Dolphins are very curious by nature.
It was a family group of 4 Risso's.I watched them for about an hour.
At one point i could see they were about to play, but i was to late and just caught sight of Junior doing a vertical dive back into the sea, and when i moved the camer slightly right i saw mums tail going down.I never got time to press the camera button. My reflexes are rubbish.
The next breach was to far out to catch on camera, two Dolphins leaping towards each other then splashing into the sea along side each other.
Because of the conditions i had to use ISO 800 never good for enlargments.

Mother and Junior

Look at Dads smile, real gruesome.


06-May-09, 00:17
If you don't mind me askin - how do you get their attention? Serious question!

06-May-09, 21:48
Good Question Wifie.
I just let them know i'm there. Move about, wave my arms, whistle, and call to them curiosity does the rest.

You probably noticed seals will see you before you see them and follow you about.
The Dolphins at Chanonry Point, come close shore to look at all the people gathered on the point.
The wild life tour boats stop in Gills Bay to look at the HP, but it's the HP that approach the boat.

Sometimes makes you wonder who is the watcher.


09-May-09, 22:29
Kas reported seeing Risso's in Thurso Bay Sat 9-5-09.
She saw 1 at 08.20 this morning and 4 just behond the pier at Scrabster this evening.
The weather tomorrow is forecast to be a lot better, so there is a good chance of seeing a lot more.
Thurso and Lybster seem to be the best locations to look.


23-May-09, 07:33
5 or 6 Risso's spotted very close to Strathy Point on the ranger-organised seawatch last night, about 6pm (think Kas has the exact time).

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2451/3555375621_2214025737_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22544094@N00/3555375621/)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2462/3556187568_c9f79a3df7_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22544094@N00/3556187568/)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3553/3556187664_504477caf4_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22544094@N00/3556187664/)

23-May-09, 08:00
I make it around ten past six. I had a fantastic evening the weather and sea conditions could not have been better. The Rissos came up the east side of the point and swam right below us giving me my first ever dolphin photos and the first decent cetacean shots I have managed. It was good to meet you c minx and a big thanks to the Highland Councils North Sutherland countryside ranger Paul Castle.

I also saw 3 at Holborn Head on Thursday 21.05 around half nine and got a report of them breaching yesterday afternoon around the same area from highland sea charters. I hope to get more info on this sighting.




28-May-09, 23:08
7 Risso's Dolphins off the Whaligoe Steps, Ulbster this evening at 17.40.
Lots of splashing and breaching.
Not the best picture in the world, it was taken from the steps from about 500 meters
400mm f5.6 ISO 200 1/800 sec