Naturalists Notes 11-9-18
November 9, 2018
Today we had an amazing trip near the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank! We spent time amongst 30+ humpback whales, about 20 Atlantic white sided dolphins, several diving northern gannets, and most spectacularly, one North Atlantic right whale! The right whale was a part of a large interspecies association, and was observed in a group with three humpback whales including Coral and Timberline. The humpback whales were possibly curious about this stranger, as they periodically spyhopped and rolled around it. With fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales alive today, observing such a critically endangered animal was a special moment for everyone. It served as a good reminder of the steps we can take to help these whales and their ocean home, such as supporting research, choosing sustainable seafood, refusing single-use plastics, and reducing carbon footprints. Unfortunately, this particular individual seemed to be in rather poor body condition. Even so, we remain optimistic that education, science, and recent public interest in this species will help them to recover in the future. We reported the sighting right away, and photos will be submitted in hopes of identifying this individual. (Also- please note that all right whale photos were taken with a zoom lens and are cropped.) After observing this unlikely quartet at a safe distance, we moved on to observe some of the numerous other whales scattered throughout the area. It seemed that no matter where you looked there was a humpback whale to watch, and we were further lucky enough to spot numerous breaches throughout the trip. Our final sightings were of a tail breaching and tail lobbing humpback, which was icing on the cake after such an exciting day.