Whale Watch Log: June 30, 2016

Today's whale watch treated us to some spectacular displays of bubble net feeding! 

The whales put on a clinic for bubble feeding
We traveled to the middle of the bank, north of the SEC to find a group of 7 that formed consisting of Venom and calf, Music and calf, Crisscross, Mend, and an unknown from last season. The great visibility allowed us to really appreciate the spiral blast pattern from the group (see photo above) – where usually one whale from the group makes the net and others corral prey as they all move upward. Venom would always surface first, doing a long bout of “dragging” (i.e. filtering water out of her mouth at the surface) followed by a head thrust (see photo). We would then watch as the other adults in the group would come up, some rolling around as they did.

Venom head thrust

The whale whoever that stole most of our attention was Venom’s 2016 calf – who was making bubble blasts of its own (see photo). It’s hard to interpret this type of behavior, but it could be a curious/milling behavior while the adults were down, or perhaps it was even practicing making bubbles, following the behavior of its feeding mother. 

Venom's calf give bubble blasts a try
What amused me was that Venom’s calf would make these bubbles usually right before the group’s net would appear – misleading us to where the adults would come up feeding.

Curious calf

Music and Venom’s calves were also pretty curious, approaching our boat a few times while the adults were down. What was also interesting about the calves was by the end of our trip, they seemed to be participating in the feeding net too.

Great day on the water! One of my favorites this season for sure!

— Laura Howes

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