Naturalists Notes 4-3-18
April 3, 2018
Happy to be back out on Stellwagen and to share my reports again! On the NW corner aboard the Sanctuary, we were delighted to find 8-10 humpbacks scattered in the area, as well as white-sided dolphins and a few harbor porpoise. We also spotted several seabirds includes scoters, eiders, and gannets. It was great to see some more life emerging on the bank! While the humpbacks have been a bit elusive the past few days, today we were luckily enough to be treated to some high-fluking individuals. Our first sighting was humpback Gumdrop, named for her gumdrop-shape on her trailing edge. Her distinctive fluke and dorsal fin made her quite visible in the distance, as she also has many prior entanglement scars unfortunately.
After spotting a harbor porpoise, we then found a trio of humpbacks that turned out to be Shuffleboard, Firefly, and Crinkle. It was exciting to see so many familiar flukes on the water, including two who were moms just last year (Firefly and Gumdrop). We were even treated to a bit of rolling at the surface by Shuffleboard, and a super high-fluking dive by Firefly. We wrapped up our day with several Atlantic white-sided dolphins swimming around our boat. I’m hopeful some of these whales will stick around the upcoming weeks!
PS – a big thanks to our naturalists Laura L, Kelsey, and Rich for kicking off our season while I was away! While I usually never miss the first day of the season, this spring I was fortunate to be helping the non-profit Oceanswell, where I was researching a non-migrating population of blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka! It was an exciting eye-opening experience to witness another region that has even more ship traffic than Boston Harbor does. To learn more about Oceanswell, check out http://oceanswell.org/