Newborn orca calf spotted travelling with pod off coast

The pod was photographed earning its 'killer' status while preying on several seals.

Newborn orca calf spotted with killer whale pod  off Aberdeenshire coast in Kainnaird Head, Fraserburgh Steve Truluck at Sea

A newborn orca calf has been spotted travelling with its pod off the coast of Fraserburgh.

The pod was spotted near Kinnaird Head and is known as the ‘169s’, says photographer Steve Truluck.

Killer whales, also known as orcas, often travel in groups and this pod contains at least five.

Orcas are tracked by identification numbers, and this pod is named after the matriarch’s identification number, 169. The newborn calf is understood to be hers, and was delivered recently.

Killer whale 170 was the first in the group to have her baby, first spotted in 2021.

Orca 170 had her baby in 2021Steve Truluck at Sea

Steve had originally set out to photograph another pod, the ’27s’, after hearing they were heading down to Fraserburgh from John O’Groates on Thursday, May 5.

He was too late, and the pod had moved on down to Peterhead by the time he arrived at Kinnaird Head on Friday evening.

The pods travel down to Scottish waters from Iceland around mid-April.Steve Truluck at Sea

He decided to spend the night in Fraserburgh before heading home to visit the coastline again around 7.45am on May 7 – and spotted the ‘169s’ instead.

Steve said: “I went from really annoyed with myself to very, very happy in about two minutes.”

He photographed the pod earning its ‘killer’ status by preying on several seals, known to reside in heavy populations at Kinnaird Head.

Large populations of seals are present at Kinnaird Head.Steve Truluck at Sea

The pods travel down to Scottish waters from Iceland around mid-April, before making their way back home in July.

Mr Truluck has co-authored the Scottish Killer Whale Photo Identification Catalogue, which documents killer whale sightings, and has also established an online group dubbed Caithness & Moray Firth Cetacean Sightings to aid orca enthusiasts across Scotland.

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