2014 Sightings | May 24 Part II

On our first trip this morning, we set out bright and early for Stellwagen Bank. The first whales we came across were Vulture and her calf accompanied by Osprey. Vulture and Osprey displayed beautiful open mouth feeding behavior while the subdued calf swam nearby. Shortly after we arrived, Daffodil and Grackle joined the group. Soon Grackle wondered away and Tongs and her calf, who spent a lot of time right near the boat, joined the group.

Osprey and Eraser feeding

As the whales fed, I was astounded by the size difference between Vulture and Daffodil. Looking at their heads and jaws as the two lunged side by side out of the water, it appeared that Daffodil was about half the size of Vulture. While Vulture was first seen in 1988, we know she is at least 26 but are not certain quite how old she is. Females being larger than males, she is one of the largest humpbacks I have seen. Daffodil, on the other hand, is only eight years old. She definitely has some growing to do; nonetheless, she is an exceptionally small whale. Just like some people are naturally much taller than others, some whales will grow to be larger than others. Even as they took a dive to start another round of bubble feeding, the size difference in their flukes was obvious.

Vulture and Daffodil drawing a crowd of seagulls
Arriving at the surface with a mouthful of fish and sea water
Pleats fully extended

Among the many feeding groups in the area, Yoo hoo and Measles were also feeding very close by. Throughout the scattered feeding groups were a few minkes and a fin whale who swam about 50 yards off our bow. We even saw two humpbacks in a nearby group do a double breach which was a fantastic end to a great trip.

This afternoon the groups seemed a little more scattered than they had been earlier in the day. We first watched Eraser and Osprey feeding who were eventually joined by Samara and Aswan. We had especially amazing looks of Eraser and Osprey when they created a bubble net right at our stern!

We watched as the water poured out of one Eraser’s mouth.

One of the highlights of our trip was a seagull eating sand lance right off one of their backs! 

As we wondered around the feeding whales, we also saw Hancock, Rocker, Geometry, Amulet, and finally, Tornado and her calf.

Tongs and calf

It was another wonderful day out on Stellwagen Bank!

Tasia, Naturalist and Photographer

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