Tyne & Wear

Rare Beluga whales spotted off Northumberland coast

Beluga whale Image copyright Steve Powis/Sea Watch Foundation
Image caption In 30 years there have only been 17 records of belugas in Britain and Ireland

Two rare beluga whales have been spotted off the Northumberland coast.

The Arctic whales were spotted in the sea off the coast of Warkworth beach on Monday by tourist Steve Powis.

He said he watched the animals from the coastline for an hour and he knew they were "quite obviously" belugas when he saw their distinctive white colouring and bulbous head.

Kathy James, sightings officer for Sea Watch Foundation, said it was a "surprise" to hear of the sightings.

Belugas are normally found at least 2,000 miles to the north, either around Greenland or in the Barents Sea.

In August, a beluga whale was sighted off the County Antrim coast near Dunseverick.

In 30 years there have only been 17 records of belugas in Britain and Ireland, the Sea Watch Foundation said.

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