Log for April 11, 2015

Both of Saturday’s whale watches were filled with feeding frenzies right near the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank! It was exciting and overwhelming to see three different species all working on prey patches at the same time, including Atlantic white-sided dolphins, fin whales and numerous humpback whales!  

There were about 5 fins, 20 humpbacks and 25-40 dolphins all within a 3 mile radius continuously feeding throughout our whole first trip. A pair of fin whales were side-lunge feeding, which is always unexpected and gets everyone’s adrenaline pumping. Two humpbacks were tail breaching while others demonstrated feeding behaviors like kick-feeding, forming bubble clouds and rings and coming up open-mouth, and some were raising their heads up out of the water perpendicularly! Even by listening to the blows you knew they were excited as they were trumpeting and stuttering near our boat.  

The North Atlantic white-sided dolphins were also taking advantage of all the available feed, with some jumping out of the water and others quickly zooming around our bow. I did however wish the humpbacks fluked more because it was tricky to identify them moving in and out of the area and not announcing themselves. Pleats was one of the main kick-feeding whales and stayed near our boat most of the trip, joining with two other humpbacks. I also could identify Aswan in a group of three and passengers received a gorgeous view of the fluke right next to us.

For the 2:00 trip the feeding frenzy continued!  I figured the commotion would have ended by the time our boat made it back to the bank but I underestimated how hungry these whales and dolphins were. We watched groups joining together and splitting until it seemed to have settled into two groups of 4 feeding humpbacks, a group of three, a pair, and then several singles in the area. There were whales on every side of our boat and it was impossible to keep track of them all at the same time.  The white-sided dolphins were still with the fins and humpbacks and were even more energetic than the first trip. We ended on watching a group of 4 humpbacks moving out of the area while a group of three stayed right next to our boat. We observed a mother calf pair with an escort but I have not been able to identify them yet. At one point the mother hung beneath the surface while the calf stayed right on top of her logging, then started swishing its tailstock at the surface and curving its body around in an “S” shape.  We had such a variety of behaviors and species today it was definitely worth the trip to get to see them all!

Thanks and have a good evening!

Laura Cupicha

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