Photographer Ryan Leith has taken these dramatic photos of both white-beaked and Risso’s dolphins feeding in the area between Noss and Helli Ness at the weekend.
Risso’s are very stocky dolphins with blunt heads and no discernible beak, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
Although they start out in life a grey/olive brown colour, as they get older they get whiter and whiter. They normally like the company of several other pod mates, sometimes lots, and although they’re normally boat-shy, they can be seen leaping out the water, breaching, tail and head-slapping and generally having a very active time. They’re also seen interacting with other species including bottlenose dolphins.
Risso’s dolphins can be found in almost all temperate waters around the world, according to WDC who say they prefer deeper water and are usually found on the edge of continental shelves however there are several places around the world where they are found much closer to shore, where there are steep drop-offs or plenty of food.
WDC added: “White-beaked dolphins are fast, powerful swimmers. Although they can be elusive, they are also known to be highly active, breaching and porpoising frequently, and also avid bow-riders in many parts of their range. They generally like to travel in pods of between five and 50 individuals, but it is not unusual to see several hundred, or even thousands, of animals hanging out together.
“White-beaked dolphins also like the company of other species of whale and dolphin. They often form mixed schools with Atlantic white-sided dolphins and bottlenose dolphins when feeding, or travel alongside humpback or fin whales.”
He also captured photos of minke whales in the area on Saturday.