Two dolphins that became stranded on the bay of an Orcadian island were rescued yesterday, in a successful mission that saw the animals safely returned to open sea.

A team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue rushed to the dolphins' aid, when the alarm was raised just after 4pm.

The Common Dolphins, that they had beached in Kettletoft Bay, Sanday were spotted by a local resident.

HeraldScotland: Image: Emma Neave-WebbImage: Emma Neave-Webb

Thankfully, the BDMLR's medics found the animals in "very good condition" when they arrived at the scene, where the animals were upright on the sand. 

BDMLR has explained how the dolphins were uplifted and relocated, so that they could easier access deep water and open sea, due to the shallow nature of the bay with a pier and island hindering a clear path. 

HeraldScotland: Image: Emma Neave-WebbImage: Emma Neave-Webb

The rescue team reported that the dolphins "quickly became active" and headed into open waters "looking strong".

They have not been seen since, which suggests they have made it to safety.

A statement from the BDMLR read: "It is likely this was a mother and larger juvenile pairing who had been feeding in the shallows in Kettletoft Bay and had simply been caught out by the falling tide.

"Interestingly, we had two Common dolphins feeding in the same bay in November last year and sadly again one stranded and died.

HeraldScotland: Image: Emma Neave-WebbImage: Emma Neave-Webb

"Common dolphin are a species which are becoming more frequently recorded in Orkney so it is likely we see an increase in strandings of this species going forward as they are perhaps not familiar with Orkney waters."

The BDMLR thanked their medics Russell Neave and Imogen Sawyer, as well as Sanday resident Ian O'Gorman for his help in the challenging conditions.

HeraldScotland: Image: Emma Neave-WebbImage: Emma Neave-Webb

They added: "Also a big thank you to the Sanday Coastguard team for valuable safety support for our team and finally, many thanks to Tracy Ranger for the loan of the trailer.

"Thank you all, couldn't have done it without you."

The BDMLR is currently raising funds to purchase additional stretchers and lifejackets to assist in rescues, with the fundraising target of £1,000.

You can find out more and make a donation here