Highlands & Islands

Wildlife watchers' close encounter with orcas near Wick

Orca off Caithness coast Image copyright Karen Munro
Image caption Wildlife photographer Karen Munro was among those who observed the pod

Wildlife watchers were treated to the sight of a pod of orca whales close to the Caithness shore on Tuesday night.

The animals are part of a group known as the 27s, seven orca that move between Shetland, Orkney and Scotland's north mainland coast.

They could be seen from The Trinkie, an outdoor swimming pool at Wick, and from the coast near Ackergill, north of Wick.

Two bulls, three females and two juveniles were spotted.

Image copyright Karen Munro
Image caption The pod had earlier been spotted down the coast from Wick in Helmsdale in Sutherland
Image copyright Karen Munro
Image caption The orcas are part of a group known as the 27s
Image copyright Karen Munro
Image caption Adult and juvenile animals were spotted

Wildlife photographer Karen Munro was among those who observed the orcas after wildlife watchers were alerted to the pod at lunchtime by Lorna Jappy, a whale watcher in Helmsdale, Sutherland.

The 27s take their name from the identification number of the group's "matriarch".

Image copyright Karen Munro
Image caption The Trinkie at Wick was among the spots where the orcas were seen