An amateur wildlife photographer has captured some unusual and unexpected drone footage - the bowel movements of a humpback whale off the west Cork coast.

Dan Lettice was filming the whale in Tragumna Bay, near Gokane Point, when the animal defecated, sending a brown plume into the clear waters.

It was the second time in a week that Mr Lettice had managed to capture striking footage of the whale from the air.

He also filmed it bubble net feeding - 'trapping' shoals of fish by blowing air bubbles in a circle - just 150 metres from shore.

Mr Lettice, who regularly posts on social media as Into the Wild Ireland, said: "I have been watching whales here in West Cork now for nearly 20 years and it blows my mind now as much as it did when I started doing it. It never gets old!

"We are blessed with incredible marine biodiversity off our coasts. The big thing for me is showing that to people and promoting the protection of this biodiversity and habitats."

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has confirmed that the humpback whale is #HBIRL82 in its catalogue which currently contains 124 recognisable individual humpbacks in Irish coastal waters.

The IWDG says the whale is well-known to its researchers, as it has been observed on numerous occasions since it was first recorded off Valentia Island, Co Kerry in 2015.

"I've seen bubble net feeding and humpbacks pooping before, but the overhead drone footage gives a different perspective," Mr Lettice said.

The humpback whale - shown here bubble net feeding - is a regular visitor to the Southwest coast. (Courtesy: Dan Lettice/Into the Wild Ireland)

Believe it or not, whale poo is important to the ocean - and us.

It is rich in iron, phosphorus and nitrogen which are vital micronutrients for floating tiny plants called phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton absorb CO2, the largest contributor to climate change.

Research published in the journal Nature in 2021 found that whales eat an average of three times more food each year than scientists have previously estimated.

This means they also poo more than previously thought.

Scientists say this amplifies their role as "global ecosystem engineers" and their potential role in curbing climate change.