Whale of a time had at Stonehaven beach

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Whale monitoring systems have been placed off the coast of Stonehaven to track whale movements in the area.

The Leader received a phone call on Wednesday from a local resident who had spotted a peculiar barge off the coast of the town on Tuesday evening.

He then went out to have a look and was intrigued after spotting a lot of odd items on the barge. Intrigued, he took an interest and asked the workers on the boat what they were up to.

The workers then told him that they were positioning whale monitor hydrophones about a mile and a half from the Stonehaven coast line.

Hydrophones are designed to be used underwater for recording or listening to underwater sound.

Its unclear exactly which type of hydrophone was being fitted here, but often microphones are attached by a stretchy date cable to a buoy at the surface and when special software then picks out the right acoustic signature of whales, scientists are able to detect the slow moving marine mammals. When a hydrophone hears a whale, it then makes a call or satellite call to researchers who can then detect if, or when whales are in the area.

The company who were fitting the hydrophones, GS Marine, said they would also be fitting the hydrophones in Arbroath and St Andrews to try and detect whales down the North East coast.

They will also be monitoring dolphins and porpoises in the area.

Last year, a rare sighting of humpback whales were reported to have been spotted just off the Stonehaven coast.

A local marine expert spotted two of the mammals swimming in the bay alongside bottlenose dolphins.

Recently, dolphins have been spotted enjoying the coastal area of the Mearns and whales have been spotted off the coast of Gourdon.

Most commonly whales in Scottish waters visits coastal shores between May to October as mackerel are on their migration North Atlantic.