A “50-strong” dolphin pod has now exited the Cromarty Firth and away from stranding danger.
Rescuers were concerned about the pod, which is understood to have been circling the waters of the Cromarty Firth since Thursday, straying worryingly close in to the edge of the bay.
However, new reports on the animals whereabouts are sounding more positive today.
Charlie Phillips, field officer with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “One of the area coordinators has just phoned me and said the dolphins have exited the Cromarty Firth and are heading out to sea.
“Finger’s crossed that they don’t go down towards Chanonry Point which they did a couple of days ago before managing to find their way back out again.”
Mr Phillips said a pod of its size, believed to be 50-strong, from waters elsewhere, was an unusual sight in the Cromarty Firth.
He said: “We are more than used to watching our own resident dolphons at certain placs like Cromarty and Chanonry Point and Kessock and alon the coas.
‘Packed like sardines’
“But for a big group of Bottlenoses that don’t belong to this area it is quite unusual especially this amount, 40 or 50 Bottlenoses – that’s a fair amount. We do see our dolphins in big groups of this size too but normally it’s in groups of about seven-10 or so.
“And the way that they are behaving is unusual as well, they are actually behaving more like Pilot whales, they are very cohesive, they are all packed together like sardines.”
One dolphin is understood to be dead on the water and steps are ongoing to recover the carcass for a post mortem.
‘Time will tell’
Mr Phillips added: “We won’t know more until later in the afternoon, shore watch observers are scattered about and they will be going out again, but the dolphins are heading out the right way which is good.”