Blue Ocean Society's Whale Sightings

Greetings! Thanks for visiting our blog. Our staff and interns will be posting their experiences here working on whale watch boats in NH and MA.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16 Captain's Lady

In spite of a few sprinkles as we were boarding, we ended up with a very nice pelagic bird and whale watch. We left the Merrimack River and passed by several harbor seals on the way. Near the ledge, we slowed down for a tuna fleet and found a shy minke whale, and a fin whale on a mission. We didn't spend much time with these less-than-cooperative whales and instead, continued on. We got to the area where whales had been seen just yesterday but it seems the whale decided to move on. Soon we got a call from some other whale seekers in the area and headed down to check out the fin whales they had found.

To our surprise, we found Dingle hanging out with a yet-to-be-ID'ed whale along with a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins!  We got some amazing looks at these huge whales while the dolphins were playing around near them.

Dingle, the fin whale
Dingle's unique markings
Dingle with dolphins
Dingle's head with dolphins off his nose!
At one point, Dingle seemed to be annoyed with the dolphins and rolled over in a big splash, showing us his flukes and flipper!
Dingle's flipper
Part of Dingle's fluke as he rolled at the surface
Then a 3rd fin whale showed up- this on has been identified as #9619, a whale first seen by Blue Ocean staff in 1996 and has only otherwise been seen in 2009!
Fin whale #9619
During the trip, when the first whale swam directly at the boat,  I mentioned that the whale certainly knew we were there as they have excellent hearing abilities. A passenger asked me what the whales were listening for. I mentioned that in addition to listening for ships and other whales (whose sounds can travel over 1000 miles underwater), they were also listening for the sounds of fish- herring in particular. Our curious passenger seemed surprised that herring make noise, so I just had to tell her of an article I had read about the sounds of herring- they "fart" to communicate and the whales can hear it!  Check out this link if you have time and want to learn about the intricacies of fish talk!

The pelagic birds were a bit sparse today but we did get many looks at northern gannets! Also we saw 2 common loons, a great shearwater, a juvenile laughing gull and a surprising look at a whimbrel!
Additionally, 2 eagles were spotted along the shore as we headed up river along with  several more harbor seals.
Pile of harbor seals!
Great day on the water and thanks again for joining us!

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