Humpback whale spotted off Suffolk coast from Minsmere

The humpback whale sighting is 'probably' a first for Suffolk

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A humpback whale has been spotted off the coast of Suffolk five days after one was seen from Norfolk.

RSPB staff at the Minsmere reserve near Dunwich said it was first seen at 15:15 GMT, about one mile (1.5km) offshore.

Ian Barthorpe, marketing manager, said experts think the whale was feeding on fish for an hour before it swam north.

"It's the first any of us have seen off Minsmere, but we have now heard stories of a humpback up the River Orwell in Ipswich about 100 years ago," he said.

Humpback whale (library image)
  • Humpback whales hunt cooperatively using the "bubble net" strategy where several whales circle underwater emitting a stream of bubbles to trap fish within an air ring from which they feed
  • The whales are renowned for their aerial breaching and complex songs performed by males during courtship

A humpback was spotted about two miles out to sea between Winterton and Horsey in Norfolk on Wednesday.

Mr Barthorpe watched the whale through binoculars from the hill next to the reserve's visitor centre, while others watched from the National Trust cottages on Dunwich Heath cliff.

"It's definitely the same species as the one seen off Norfolk, because experts could tell from the shape of its blow," he said.

"We assume it's the same one, but we can't say for sure."

Last year a juvenile fin whale died after beaching at Shingle Street, further down the Suffolk coast.

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