Wildlife expert confirms orca sighting - as three beautiful animals spotted off Seaham coast

A wildlife expert has confirmed that a picture, taken off the Seaham coast, is of three stunning orcas.

Wildlife confirms orcas pictured off the Seaham coast by Tim Ward.
Wildlife confirms orcas pictured off the Seaham coast by Tim Ward.

There has been a lot of differing opinions after pictures believed to show orcas – also known as killer whales – off the coast of Seaham.

Resident Tim Ward captured the beautiful creatures off the coast between 3.30pm and 4pm on Monday, May 18, and said he believed the animals to be orcas.

Now, a wildlife expert has confirmed the pictures DO show three beautiful orcas.

Dorinda Kealoha, engagement officer at Durham Wildlife Trust who previously worked for the National Marine Aquarium, said: “It is definitely an orca – based on the colouring and markings are different and the size of the dorsal fin.

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“They were spotted just a couple of weeks ago up the coast in Northumberland.

“It’s is very rare for them to come down this far south in the North Sea. It’s quite a surprise to see them all the way down in Seaham but it’s also very exciting.”

In the past, there have been sightings around this time of year near the Farne Islands as orcas do hunt seals – but even then they don’t often come this far south.

So what has made the group make the journey?

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“They may have come done because of the drop in boat traffic at the moment. Due to the situation at the moment few tourist boats will be heading out which can make noise which may deter marine life,” said Dorinda, who has studied marine biology.

“But they may also have just gotten lost – either way it is really lovely to see.”

Where are orcas more likely to be spotted?

It’s not uncommon for dolphins, porpoise and minke whales to venture into English shores during the warmer weather and seven white-beaked dolphins were recently recorded at Whitburn.

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But killer whales are very rarely spotted so far south, with Dorinda admitting she has never heard of another sighting below Northumberland.

“You’re a bit more likely to see them off the coast of Edinburgh and Scotland.

“Orcas were actually spotted off Belfast earlier this week as well.”

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