The photos show the magnificent 40ft whale twisting and turning as it throws itself out of the water, around 150 metres from Kinghorn in Fife.
The whale is understood to have spent about six hours performing its acrobatics as amazed spectators watched and the “performance” was snapped by David Thomson, from nearby Pittenweem, Fife. The 44-year-old shop manager said he was stunned by what he witnessed.
He said: “I was in absolute awe when I saw the whale breach, it was amazing watching something that weighs 35 tonnes propelling itself out of the water. I had previously seen the whale one morning from the road on my way to work, but this was the first time I had gone looking for him.
“I spent nearly six hours watching the whale. It’s been in the area for over a month now and it was over 150 metres off the coast.”
Earlier this year, divers were called out to almost exactly the same spot in the Firth from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity amid concerns a whale had become tangled in a fishing net.
However, there was no sign of the whale, believed to be male, being in any difficulty and it appeared in good health.
Danny Groves, a spokesman for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said sightings were becoming more common in Scotland.
He said: “This humpback was spotted a couple of days ago in the area. Humpbacks are being seen more and more around the Scottish coastline and recently two were seen around the coast of Aberdeen, one of whom had previously been seen on the west coast.
“It’s not unusual to see them – one has wandered into Aberdeen Harbour before. It is likely that they are following prey into the area, they have a very small throat – believe it or not – so can swallow schooling fish but only small fish.
“Judging by where we think the whale has been seen, it isn’t in any danger other than potentially from shipping.”
He added: “I guess this isn’t something the average person would see every day. Humpbacks are known for their amazing acrobatic performances, so they would certainly make you stop in your tracks if you saw one breaching.”