A stroll along Oban’s front to catch a glimpse of the famous otter resulted in a pleasant surprise for a local wildlife spotter.
Dan Earl was enjoying his daily walk from Soroba towards Ganavan beach when a friendly dolphin popped up swimming unusually close to the shore.
The dolphin was near Dunollie Castle, where an otter has become a familiar sight.
Mr Earl, 43, had his trusty camera in tow, along with six-month-old son David in the pram.
He said: “It’s kind of a hobby. There is Ollie of Dunollie, the local otter, and I do a daily walk down there.
“There’s not much else to do in lockdown in Oban. We walk down from Soroba and when my son goes to sleep I have got two hours to take pictures.
“I was looking for Ollie on Saturday. He wasn’t there, but this little creature came along. It was to the left of the little bay, by the lighthouse at the war memorial, just after Dunollie Castle.
“I’ve never seen a dolphin in the bay before. It was just swimming around, then it went into the deeper channel where the ferries go and off it went.
“It was almost as if it was waiting for the ferry to pass before crossing.
“You see the otter quite a lot on the shore, sometimes coming up onto the grass.
“They recently named him Ollie of Dunollie – maybe they can call the dolphin Dollie.”
Another member of the public spotted the dolphin on Saturday at around 2pm and alerted the coastguard, concerned that it may come to harm.
Iain MacKinnon, Oban coastguard station officer, said: “We went out with some volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue but never saw it.
“We were delighted to see the photographs of it looking quite happy on Facebook later that day.”
Prof Ben Wilson, a marine mammal specialist at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) in Oban, said: “It appears to be a common dolphin, which is a normally gregarious species, often seen riding the bow wave of ships out at sea. They are found in this area, around Mull and Ardnamurchan, but are usually seen in groups, so it is unusual to see one on its own and it’s certainly not a frequent sighting in Oban Bay.”
Oban’s resident otter has become so popular that local support group, Martyn’s Monday Club, ran a competition to give him a name.