ID Matches between Iceland and Scotland

In this section we present new ID matches of individuals migrating between Scotland and Iceland for the year 2017. Individuals marked red were newly matched by Orca Guardians Iceland with the great help of dedicated whale watchers, wildlife guides, and conservationists, who were looking out for these specific orcas along the Scottish shoreline. Once good quality identification images were available from the Scottish mainland, Orkney and Shetland, we could then compare these photographs to pictures taken in West Iceland in 2016 and 2017. Individuals are displayed within their core group, with added information on group members that were re-sighted in 2017. (“Core group” meaning the aggregation in which individuals have been observed repeatedly without a change of the group composition in West Iceland in the last 4 years.) Please see the text below each of the 4 core groups for details. (All pictures © Orca Guardians Iceland, unless otherwise stated.)

Core Group 01

NEW MATCH 2017

SN067

SN067 "Nótt" (LHS)

SN067

SN067 "Nótt" (RHS)

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN066

SN066 "Supreme / Hulk" (LHS)

SN066

SN066 "Supreme / Hulk" (RHS)

This small core group only consists of two males, SN066 and SN067. Until 2014, there was a female in the group (SN065) who is now declared deceased. Both males were frequently documented by Orca Guardians in West Iceland between 2014 and 2017, and the first good quality ID picture of SN067 in Scotland (Orkney) was taken in June 2017 – many thanks to Peter Hazlehurst for sharing the images with us! You can find this core group in our catalogue on page 20.

Core Group 02

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN069

SN069 "Vendetta / Mousa" (LHS)

SN069

SN069 "Vendetta / Mousa" (RHS)

NEW MATCH 2017

SN199

SN199 "Tide" (LHS)

SN199

SN199 "Tide" (RHS)

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN070

SN070 "Attack / Summer" (LHS)

SN070

SN070 "Attack / Summer" (RHS)

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN068 (LHS)

SN068 (LHS)

SN068 (RHS)

SN068 (RHS)

NEW MATCH 2017

SN207 (LHS)

SN207 (LHS)

SN207 (RHS)

SN207 (RHS)

NOT CONFIRMED TO DATE

SN071 (LHS)

SN071 (LHS)

SN071 (RHS)

SN071 (RHS)

The core group around Vendetta (named “Mousa” in Scotland) is probably the best-known migrating group to date. Her calf Tide (SN199) was first sighted in West Iceland in 2015 and, since then, numerous times along the Scottish and Icelandic shoreline, but only this year did we receive a good quality ID picture for confirmation. SN207 is one of the lesser-known members of this group, but thanks to the relentless efforts of Karen Munro, we could confirm this ID from her pictures taken from shore in Scotland (mainland) in June 2017. SN071 was, to our knowledge, not photographed in 2017. You can find this core group in our catalogue on pages 21 and 22.

Core Group 03

NEW MATCH 2017

SN206

SN206 "Melrakki" (LHS)

SN206

SN206 "Melrakki" (RHS)

NEW MATCH 2017

SN149

SN149 "Flangi" (LHS)

SN149

SN149 "Flangi" (RHS)

PROBABLE MATCH 2017

SN205 (LHS)

SN205 (LHS)

SN205 (RHS)

SN205 (RHS)

NOT CONFIRMED TO DATE

SN204 (LHS)

SN204 (LHS)

SN204 (RHS)

SN204 (RHS)

This group was the big surprise in 2017! None of the group members had been previously matched between Iceland and Scotland, but we had recorded them in West Iceland as early as January 2014. Again, our sincere thanks go to Karen Munro for recognizing two of the fins and providing the missing piece in the puzzle – photographs by Karen and also by Phil Evans helped us track back a sighting along the Scottish shoreline to June 2016, and they were sighted again in May 2017. SN206 and SN149 could be matched right away, and we are hoping for a better picture of SN205 for final confirmation in the future. You can find this core group in our catalogue on page 55.

Core Group 04

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN200 (LHS)

SN200 (LHS)

SN200 (RHS)

SN200 (RHS)

NEW MATCH 2017

SN201

SN201 "Tili" (LHS)

SN201

SN201 "Tili" (RHS)

NEW MATCH 2017

SN323 (LHS)

SN323 (LHS)

SN323 (RHS)

SN323 (RHS)

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN202 (LHS)

SN202 (LHS)

SN202 (RHS)

SN202 (RHS)

RE-SIGHTING 2017

SN203 (LHS)

SN203 (LHS)

SN203 (RHS)

SN203 (RHS)

The core group around SN200 has not been sighted in West Iceland as frequently as the other 3 core groups, but, nevertheless, we could confirm two new ID matches in 2017 within this group as well. SN201 “Tili”, the youngest offspring of SN200, was first recorded by Orca Guardians in 2016, and we received an identification image for confirmation by Hugh Harrop following a sighting in Shetland in May 2017. As all members in the group had been photographed, it was possible for us to also match subadult male SN323 from the same sighting. Many thanks to Hugh Harrop and team from Shetland Wildlife! You can find this core group in our catalogue on page 54.

If you have seen orcas along the Scottish or Icelandic shoreline, or anywhere else in the North Atlantic, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a message here