Plot hole: If the Bird-of-Prey went to warp speed right after the whales were beamed up the ship would have already been so far away from Earth it would have been on its way back towards the sun, yet minutes later the ship is shown leaving the Earth, still at warp speed.
Continuity mistake: The Bird of Prey is the one captured by Kirk's crew in ST III That ship's bridge showed Klingon Cmdr Kruge in his elevated command chair with his helmsmen arrayed circularly below him, and nothing else. ST IV has this same ship, however the bridge now resembles The Enterprise layout with Kirk's command chair behind Sulu and Chekov at their rectangular helm, with Spock, Scotty and Uhura at their usual positions.
Kirk: Mr. Spock, have you accounted for the variable mass of whales and water in your time re-entry program?
Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so... I will make a guess.
Kirk: A guess? You, Spock? That's extraordinary.
Spock: [to Dr. McCoy] I don't think he understands.
McCoy: No, Spock. He means that he feels safer about your guesses than most other people's facts.
Spock: Then you're saying... It is a compliment?
McCoy: It is.
Spock: Ah. Then, I will try to make the best guess I can.
McCoy: Please do.
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