Where and When is best to spot Killer Whales or Orcas?
Summer is the best time to see these magnificent creatures usually from May to July when the Common Seals are pupping.
Any areas with lots of seal pups are good places to look for Orcas, so Orkney, Shetland and the Pentland Firth. The seal eaters are from the Icelandic population and follow the Herring shoals (and trawlers) south and stay for the seal feast. Photo identification has shown that between 1-200 individuals are regularly visiting these waters in the summer. A few have been spotted during our Wilderness Scotland trips over the years, often around the Inner Hebrides and Skye.
There is a resident West Coast population that ranges from the Outer Hebrides to Galway all year round. It is made up of ten individuals, five males and 5 females. In 20 years of study they have never been seen with a calf, so it is thought they are post-reproductive. This population does not communicate or mix with the fish eater from the north but specialises in hunting other cetaceans up to the size of a Minke Whale! Some scientists think that they are most closely related to the Antarctic Orca.
If you look at www.atlantickillerwhales.com you can see pictures of their dorsal fins and colouration. The big male “John Coe” has a notch at the base of his dorsal fin making him easy to identify.
If you see a Killer Whale report your sighting on the Killer Whale Hotline 07500 380 524. Our trips occasionally come across Orcas by boat, while sea kayaking or just viewing from the shore.
We also specialise in Wildlife walking trips where you can go on an adventure in Scotland’s landscapes and witness the diverse nature that lives within.
Check out Wilderness Scotland’s article about 5 different types of wildlife that can be found in the Scottish area.