Sunday, September 6, 2015 Whale Watch - Naturalist Krill Carson

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Seabirds resting on the water.

We had a beautiful day offshore with light winds and great visibility. We moved onto the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank and found a large number of seabirds still in this area. Some were feeding at the surface while others were resting on the surface.

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Perseid’s 2014 calf showing gear scar on tail stock.

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Perseid’s 2014 calf showing abrasion caused by recent gear entanglement.

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Perseid’s 2014 calf.

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Perseid’s 2014 calf.

We passed a number of finbacks off Race Point as we headed north. Our first sighting was a small humpback who was later identified as Perseid’s 2014 calf. This young animal had cuts and abrasions on its tail stock and top of its flukes that had been caused by a recent entanglement. The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) recently disentangled this animal, but the wounds caused by the fishing gear are still evident. We sent photos and sighting information to PCCS for ID confirmation and to help them document the recovery of this animal after the event.

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Humpback off the backside of the Cape with Highland Light in the background.

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Ocean sunfish at the surface.

There were a number of humpback whales in this area as well as an ocean sunfish that was at the surface. Ocean sunfish are the heaviest bony fish in the world and they are common feeders in our cold Northern waters. It was great to see this fish as it floated on its side next to the boat.

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Banyan showing white scarring caused by past entanglement.

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Banyan fluking out.

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Tail breach by Banyan.

We picked up a larger humpback that we identified as Banyan. Banyan is also a survivor of an entanglement in fishing gear. The scars caused by the ropes and lines are clearly evident on this animal’s body, but the whale is doing very well regardless. Our last sighting was a whale named Spirit. Again, we thank PCCS for providing the ID’s of many of the whales that we say on today’s trip.

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Spirit logging at the surface. Nice look at the nostrils.

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Fluke out dive by Spirit.

 

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Spirit getting active at the surface.

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Spirit logging or resting at the surface.

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Spirit arching out.

Spirit was spending a lot of time on the surface just resting, in a behavior we call logging. At one point during the trip, Spirit surfaced right in the middle of a large concentration of seabirds. Neither Spirit nor the birds seemed to mind as they all seemed to mind their own business. Great trip today with amazing views of endangered whales, including finback whales, and humpback whales.

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Ventral tail pattern of Spirit.

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Minke whale surfacing off our starboard side.

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