Naturalists Notes 5-31-18
May 31, 2018
This morning we made our way out to a foggy southern Stellwagen bank. The sightings sure didn’t disappoint as we came across a group of four humpback whales including Venom and her calf, Pele, and Spell! The calf seemed to be venturing away from the older whales, and even came up to check out the boat briefly! We were also lucky to see a tail lob from the calf, as well as about 10 scattered seals!
We had an exciting day aboard the Aurora! As we arrived to the bank, we spotted a few scattered blows, two of which turned out to be fin whales. Though fin whales can be tricky often to get a good look of, we were treated to a great sighting of the fin whale right alongside our boat, where we could observe its chevron pattern on the right side of its body.
After checking out this fin whale, we ventured further out along the edge of the bank, where we found a group of 4 humpbacks. After a long initial dive, we spotted a bit of fluke-rolling at the surface of Venom’s 2018 calf, who has been easy to identify with its interesting marks alongside its body. While the calf was still milling at the surface, suddenly the three adults all surfaced right near our boat, giving us a spectacular first look of humpbacks! Venom’s calf continued to hang out at the surface much to our delight, occasionally rolling and even doing a few tail breaches. On one of the rolls we got a look at the calf’s underside, and it appears to be a boy.
It was also another trip filled with grey seals. Our favorite look of the day was when Venom’s calf was hanging at the surface, and began following and chasing a seal. It’s always fascinating to see curiosity in these young animals! -Laura & Chelsi
This afternoon, we took a different route and made our way to midbank. We spent most of our time with a pair of humpbacks: Dross and her calf. The calf treated us to numerous breaches while mom likely fed just beneath the surface. Because of this, we were able to get some great fluke shots of this young one that will help us track it for seasons to come! A number of other adult humpbacks were also subsurface feeding around the area, and we were able to get a brief look at Measles.
Overall it was a fun and memorable day out on the water!