A dawn start at Flamborough Head led to disappointment in the drizzle. Conditions for migrant birds looked great - I must have got something wrong! - as the Old Fall Circuit yielded virtually nothing. One Wheatear, a couple of Lesser Redpolls and several Goldcrests was all I could find. Not quite the epic fall that had inspired me to spring out of bed earlier on. There was a surprise in store, however. I decided the fresh northeasterly may offer more value over the sea and news of a White-chinned Petrel off Norfolk confirmed my decision - I grabbed my scope and headed down to the fog station.
Arriving at the seawatching hide, news was surprisingly mediocre, with only a handful of skuas and Sooty Shearwaters moving. 1000 Kittiwakes was impressive though, so I decided to stay a while. A little later, a guy walked up and said he had seen a whale breach - twice! This was interesting; I had never seen a Minke Whale breach although I was aware they did it, but only rarely. This would be cool to see, but as I scanned I feared I had missed my chance. A few tense moments later and the yell of 'Humpback!' came from Andy Malley in the hide - panic!
Scanning the sea, a large dark shape appeared, like a rocket emerging from the sea, it span round, two immense wing-like white pectoral fins flung wide and the whale launched backwards causing an immense splash. A Humpback Whale! A massive Humpback Whale - ABSOLUTELY MEGA!
The whale breached a couple more times, then lay on the surface, smashing one of it's pectoral fins on the surface. It then fluked, dived under before starting a long series of cataclysmic breaches. At one point, it became clear there was a second individual as I saw another whale breach further out very shortly after the first whale had landed. Two Humpbacks! I had always dreamed of seeing this leviathan off the Yorkshire coast, but never expected to see a prolonged display like this. The whale/whales carried on cavorting for the best part of an hour, gradually heading north and further out and as news spread, quite a crowd gathered along the clifftop. Even at a great distance, the immense splash caused by the breaching could be seen easily through bins. The blow was seen frequently, large and bushy, hanging for a few seconds. Absolute scenes! One of the greatest things I have ever seen.