Our first marine mammal sighting yesterday was a harbor seal on the way out of the harbor. A short while after we approached the southern edge of Stellwagen, we spotted a large scattered pod of 200-300 common dolphins. With such great sighting conditions and calm seas, we were able to get quite the visual of the size of the pod. Passengers got a treat as a some of these dolphins were bow riding and circling our boat—seen very clearly through the water! We even observed some porpoising in the distance.
After spending some time with the dolphins, we decided to continue searching for whales, and we weren’t let down! We found five scattered humpback whales deep and bubble feeding in the area. We first found Freckles and calf, bubble feeding again, but this time deeper in the water column.
|Freckles and calf|
|A tell-tale sign of bubble feeding|
Then suddenly we were surprised by two FULL breaches by Freckles calf, and two more flipper/half breaches shortly after!
|The breach was great surprise.|
|It was fun to see the calf be a bit playful before the pair started to deep feed again.|
We then moved onto another pair that had been in the distance, which turned out to be Columbia and her 2013 calf deep feeding. This is our first sighting of this pair this season, and interesting to note that both Freckles and Columbia were some of regulars last year on Stellwagen. So great to see them with calves this year!
|Columbia has an intricate pattern on her fluke – created mostly by the many orca rake marks all over it.|
And lastly it wouldn’t be a whale watch on Stellwagen without seeing Nile – our last look of the day was of a plump Nile fluking in the sunlight.
|Good ol' Nile|
We also passed a minke on the way home totaling our marine mammal species to four for the day. Also, for birds we saw many gannets, scoters, a few great shearwaters, and of special note a Pomerine Jaeger.
|We also had a nice look at the rising moon at Long Wharf departing from the boat.|
Overall a fantastic fall day!
The New England Aquarium Whale Watch will continue to run noon excursions on weekends in November as long as the whales and the weather oblige. And so far, both have been pretty fantastic! If you're interested in joining us, check the website as the weekend approaches. We hope to see you!