The Moray Firth dolphins are a much-loved local attraction, spoilt only slightly by the fact that hardly anyone ever sees them. They are apparently the northernmost colony of dolphins in the world, and they are clearly built of stern stuff to survive all that the chilly North Sea, oil-rigs and wind turbines can throw at them.
I caught sight of one about 8 years ago while I was standing alone on a windswept, frozen beach. It was just me on the land and this playful dolphin leaping around in the water. I could have stood there all day if I hadn't been worried about frostbite. I thought that might remain my only sighting, but then this Saturday, on a visit to Chanonry Point, there the elusive little buggers were, frolicking around in the water, waggling their fins and coming right up to the edge of the water. It was a glorious sight. Chanonry Point is the best place to spot them and despite the fact the temperature was peaking at about minus five, around a dozen hardy enthusiasts had gathered more in hope than expectation. And this time we were rewarded.
I clicked off several pictures of these magnificent creatures. And every single one resolutely failed to get a dolphin in shot. Somehow I just couldn't get my frozen finger to press down fast enough and so all I have to mark the occasion is pictures of sea and sky, and no dolphins. Hopefully I'll be quicker off the mark when I'm next due for a sighting around 2018.
But luckily one of the official dolphin spotters was there during, as he rightly says, the mad dash down the beach, and he posted a somewhat better picture on his blog at Adopt a dolphin.
I suppose I'll have to put that picture in my collection and pretend I shot it!