Log for April 14, 2015

We had another fantastic whale watch with lots of feeding activity! Atlantic-white sided dolphins dominated the entire northwest corner of the bank. As we saw last week, these acrobatic cetaceans were associating with many of the minke and humpback whales in the area and were especially abundant around fin whales. We saw at least seven different fin whales across the western part of the corner, one of which was surface lunge feeding!

We saw a lot of small, single humpbacks as well, many of which were producing very minimal spouts which made them difficult to detect from further away. We easily spotted the white water of some kickfeeding humps a couple miles southeast of our initial location. Our kickfeeders who were fishing separately turned out to be Pleats and Sundown. This learned behavior varies among individuals. 

Like many of the humpbacks in the Gulf of Maine, Pleats and Sundown each have their own distinct style of kickfeeding which one becomes very familiar with after spending a considerable amount of time with certain whales. Sundown’s tail kicks are completed over a full 90 degrees with a somewhat floppy fluke, whereas Pleats’ kicks are shallow and more controlled (see photos).

As we were preparing to head back to Boston, Pleats was joined by one of our unknowns who was with Landslide on Monday. Unfortunately, we were once again unable to capture a fluke ID shot of this whale. Hopefully over the next couple of days we will be able to solve the mystery of who this sneaky whale is! The only other solo humpback whale we were able to ID in the area was Aerospace who surfaced sporadically as the others fished.

Overall, it was another great day on the water!

Tasia Blough
Naturalist and Photographer

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