July 29, 2015 Whale Watch - Naturalist Krill Carson

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Sooty Shearwater.

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Finback whale.

As we headed to the waters off Highland Light, we came into an area where we had a large concentration of seabirds. There were hundreds of seabirds in this area and this was a good indication that there was a lot of small bait fish in the area. Our first marine mammal sighting was a number of finback whales that were feeding in the area. Finbacks are the second largest of all the baleen whales, and they largest whale that we see feeding in our waters.

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Gray seal.

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Gray seal.

As we waited for the finbacks to surface, a young gray seal popped up off the Port side of the boat. This animal as very curious and spent time around the boat. We have both gray and harbor seals in our New England waters, and the gray seal is the most abundant.

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Ventral tail pattern of Putter.

Also in this area were 15 to 20 humpback whales, a medium-sized baleen whale. We were able to identify many individuals including a male named Putter. Putter was moving out of the area as we arrive, but we were able to get a good look at the beautiful black and white tail pattern on its ventral tail or flukes.

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Columbia, kick feeding.

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Columbia, lunge feeding.

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Columbia kick feeding.

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Columbia’s calf, spinning head breaching.

Also in this area were a number of mothers and calves. One special pair was Columbia and her calf of this year. Columbia is an old-timer who has brought back many calves into our population. As mom was feeding at the surface, the calf was very active breaching all around our vessel. Humpback calves are still nursing at this time, so the calves have unlimited energy that they can tap into. That is why they are often the most active individuals offshore.

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Fluke out by Firefly and calf who are traveling with Pixar.

 

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Open mouth feeding at the surface.

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Straining at the surface.

A second mother and calf pair was in this area and we identified them as Firefly and calf. Firefly has a very dark ventral tail pattern with white blotches that look like fireflys. Her calf was very playful as mom was feeding with two other adult humpback whales.

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Bombay.

Our last sighting included a humpback with a very dark tail. After we downloaded our photos, we were able to identify this individual as a whale named Bombay. I haven’t seen this whale all season so this was quite a sighting.

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