A wildlife photographer had the encounter of a lifetime when he made a ‘rare’ sighting of a beluga whale in Scottish waters.
While those on land may be struggling with the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions, the beluga whale flocked to waters around Shetland to enjoy the colder weather.
Richard Shucksmith, who captured a video of the whale, said the mammals are “rarely seen” in Shetland.
Shucksmith shared the captivating video on social media while thanking Phil, Ayda and Bec who battled the Arctic conditions on land to pick him up.
“I would not have made it due to the track to my house being deep in snow,” the photographer said.
The whale had been spotted by locals on Tuesday morning who shared the exciting sighting on a local WhatsApp page.
The hazardous conditions made it difficult for the group to get out on the water but once conditions improved they jumped straight back in their car and headed north.
Bec wrote about the sighting on the Shetland Seabird Tours website, saying the group spotted the whale “almost immediately”.
She added that the mammal was regularly surfacing and clearly visible even at a distance, contrasting against the dark water.
“The large, active animal appeared healthy, feeding and regularly diving for a few minutes at a time, we could even follow its white shape below the surface,” she wrote.
Beluga whales are incredibly rare in Scottish waters and according to Shetland Seabird Tours, it’s only the sixth time the mammal has been recorded in the Isles.
The whales are most commonly found in icy Arctic waters and wildlife charities believe there are just 150,000 left in the world.
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