I have heard from friends that once again there is a humpback whale (maybe even more than one) in the Firth of Forth. This is not small news, so I have been trying to plan when I can get over to Kinghorn in Fife to see it – as this is where most of the sightings are from, and a convenient place to watch from. However, as well as the humpback whale, Edinburgh and Fife have also seen a fair share of snow these past weeks. So, I decided to be sensible today, stay off the roads, and watch from the Edinburgh side of the Forth.
As soon as I arrived at my watching site, I was a little bit stunned by how beautiful and still the view was. It was also very quiet, and all this combined with the cold air and view of the distant snow topped hills just essentially took my breath away. This part of the water is usually quite wavy, I have very rarely seen it as still as it was today. “Perfect”, I thought, for spotting a humpback whale.
So I watched and watched, scanning the water with my eyes and binoculars in equal measure. I thought to myself that I would be sure to see the whale if it was there, because the water was so still. As I watched I saw some male eider ducks, a hungry cormorant, and a very dashing male goldeneye. But no whale. So I had my picnic lunch and settled in for the next round of searching.
While I was out, I got chatting to a few lovely people who stopped to say hello and ask me about the wildlife in the area. This can often happen, as my binoculars give away that I like wildlife, and it always makes my day cheerier to chat with other people who enjoy seeing wildlife! It was as I was chatting to some of these people, that a small group of swans nosily flew very low, right over our heads. Now we all know by now (or you’re about to, if you’re a new reader) that I love swans – so this moment was amazing, and I hope to remember it for a long time to come.
In the end, it got to a point where I could no longer feel my nose. I love wildlife watching, and I had dressed for the cold, but you have to know when to call it a day. Plus, I still had the food shop to do! So I packed up and decided to continue my quest to see the whale another day. As I walked back to the car, there was just time to take some photos of a beautiful pair of swans, that have taken residence on the smallest of ponds next to all the new flats. As I did, I was treated to yet another aerial display of swans above my head. I hadn’t expected these moments when I set out today, but they were brilliant and gave me the kind of “happy boost” that I get from wildlife watching. Hopefully this boost will last me until my next trip out!
If you would like to plan a visit to a nature hotspot, why not check out The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB websites. You’ll find information on the reserves near you, what you might see, and how to get there. Happy watching!