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Naturalist’s Notebook: September 20 – September 26

This was very much a week about feeding.  If you have been following along, by now you have at least some idea of the various feeding behaviors of humpback whales.  This week, they were all evident:  the bubble-nets,  the bubble-clouds,  kick-feeding,  chin-kicking,  bubble-columns,  subsurface lunges,  and the lunges through the surface of the water with their mouths open.  There are also reports of most of the other behaviors humpbacks, in particular, are sought out for.  There were spinning head breaches, tailbreaches, chinbreaches, flippering, lobtailling, nursing, and logging.   They were all enjoyed by passengers this week and on many occasions.

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What was out of the ordinary this week was the activity of the finback whales.  Usually, finwhales are reported singly and on the move, surfacing for several breaths before arching and slipping beneath the surface for as little as three minutes or as much as twenty.  This week, sightings were usually of multiple animals.  Pinch was seen with her calf on the 20th.  More than half a dozen were reported off of Race Point throughout the 22nd.  And it was on the 22nd that a group of eight finbacks were reported together.  On the 23rd, a group of five finners was observed rolling around in the afternoon.  One, during a feeding lunge, thrust itself upside down right next to the Dolphin 8.  And on the 25th, they repeatedly passed very close by the Dolphin 10.

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If you can put asside the numerous occasions where the whalewatch boat was surrounded by 25 or more feeding humpback whales, the highlight of the week would have to have been the sunset voyage of the Dolphin 10 on September 25.  It was on this trip that Dennis Minsky reports a sighting of Binary’s 2012 calf in which the animal breached “at least 27 times in succession– incredible!!”100_9659 humpback epic breach 1