Humpback whale spotted in Dunbar

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A rarely seen Humpback whale has been spotted splashing about in shallow water in the Firth of Forth in Scotland.

According to a report from The Scotsman, the Humpback whale was first spotted by Michael Allen who was walking his dog near the Firth of Forth.

Allen saw that the whale was splashing about in shallow water in Belhaven Bay near Dunbar and alerted staff at the nearby Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick and members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team.

By the time the team had been scrambled to the Bay, the Humpback had managed to swim free and return to deeper water, says The Scotsman.

The sighting of the Humpback follows reports earlier in the year of Fin whales in the Forth. "You are more likely to see a lion walking down Princes Street..."Linda Dalgleish, of the Scottish Seabird Centre, told The Scotsman: "We often see Minke whales in the Forth, but this is the first year in a long time that we have seen creatures like the Fin whale or the Humpback. It is very exciting that these creatures are coming to the Forth.

"There is very little doubt that it was a humpback whale. They are very easy to identify because of their long, white flippers.

"The last time we saw a humpback in the Forth was about three years ago - but that was the first anyone could remember in a long time. I was told by a whale expert that you are more likely to see a lion walking down Princes Street than to see a humpback whale in the Forth.

"We have had a lot of inquiries at the centre from people who have come hoping to see one of the rarer whales. It is fantastic people are taking such an interest."

The Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, is a member of the Balaenopteridae family and can reach a length of up to 14.6m/50 feet. An adult can weigh as much as 36 tonnes.

The species is found around the world and spends the summer in temperate and polar waters feeding on fish, and migrates to the tropics for the winter.

The global population has been dramatically reducing by the whaling trade, and it is now believed that there are only 30 or 40,000 Humpback whales left.