Concerned sealife enthusiasts taking part in a national campaign raised the alarm after seeing whales dangerously close to the Moray Firth coast.
Experts and amatuers have had their binoculars and telescopes trained on the waves in the hope of catching a glimpse of majestic underwater mammals.
The spotters were initially overjoyed when they sighted a pod of about 15 pilot whales near the coast of Nairn.
However, their delight soon turned to concern when the mammals started come too close to the coast – raising the risk of them becoming beached.
Onlookers raised the alarm and experts from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) kept a watching brief on the group to ensure they did not get into difficulty.
The enthusiasts had been keeping an eye on the waves as part of the Sea Watch Foundation’s national whale and dolphin watch.
And yesterday Steve Truluck, who organised a weekend event in Burghead as part of the campaign, revealed the extra attention on the water may have led to concerns about the mammals being raised quicker.
He said: “When we were out watching there were quite a lot of people out – because it’s a national event there’s just that bit more attention on it at the moment.
“It’s very rare to see pilot whale here. That’s why we were so worried about them. They’re not normally seen this far down the Moray Firth.”
Sea Watch Foundation’s national whale and dolphin watch runs until Sunday, August 6. Sightings can be reported online at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/nwdw-2017