Orca feast in Nelson for first day of summer

Orca have a fondness for sting rays and eagle rays. (File photo)

Brooke Giblin/Stuff

Orca have a fondness for sting rays and eagle rays. (File photo)

A pod of orca has wowed beach goers around Nelson on the first day of summer.

Eyewitnesses spied a pod of about five orca travelling up the west coast of Tasman Bay on Wednesday, some coming within 10 metres of the beach.

Sally Lightower spotted them from her backyard on the hill overlooking Ruby Bay at about 11am, before ducking inside to grab her camera.

“To see them from your garden it’s just amazing – I couldn’t believe my luck.”

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The washed-up corpse of a stingray in Ruby Bay, one of the unfortunate victims of the orca pod's foray into Tasman Bay.

Sally Lightowler/supplied

The washed-up corpse of a stingray in Ruby Bay, one of the unfortunate victims of the orca pod’s foray into Tasman Bay.

After walking her dog at the beach later that afternoon, she found out the reason for the whales’ visit, where several stingray corpses had washed up.

“They like to come into the bay here and trap the stingrays.

“When we got there [the stingrays] were exposed and washed up – the seagulls were very happy.”

As the pod travelled north they were spotted again in the afternoon, this time at Kaiteriteri Beach.

Janet Horwill had just come back from a swim and was sitting on the beach, when she saw a “huge fin” out in the bay.

She said two orcas swam right into the shallows of the beach – about 10 metres from the edge of the water – while another two or three stayed further out to sea.

“It was quite amazing how shallow they came in – I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It was my birthday as well, so it was very cool.”

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