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Naturalist’s Notebook: September 26 to October 02

* It was an afternoon of feeding behaviors on September 26. Old favorites, like Salt and Tear and Nile her involved in both kick feeding and bubble-net feeding. At times, the schooling fish could be seen jumping clear of the water, attempting to get away from the gaping mouths of the humpback whales. Those open mouths followed them through the surface of the water to the delight of the passengers of several afternoon whalewatch trips.
open mouthOPEN MOUTHOpen mouth
* September 27 began quietly with the first sightings being of Nile and her calf logging, or resting at the surface. It didn’t take long for the calf to become a little more active, launching itself nearly free of the water. Salt was sighted again today, as well. Epsom was, once more, not seen with her. There were also sightings of other old favorites like Apex and Scratch. And a number of finback whales off the Race.
* The passengers of the Dolphin 8 were lucky enough to see Sundown and Norhtstar. Sundown was blowing streams of bubbles that had nothing to do with feeding. In the words of the naturalist, ” like a shield.”
* There were, again, a number of humpback whales on the southwest corner of the bank on September 28. One of the vessels reported seeing Nile’s calf tail-breaching. Another reported a curious boat approach by a whale named Colt. This animal is well-known for his interest in whalewatching boats, surfacing and spyhopping on either side of the vessel before going back underneath it to cross to the other side. This encounter lasted a good quarter of an hour today and, at one point, the whale was laying beneath the boat with its head out off one side and its tail out off the other.
* There was more feeding on September 29. Both humpback whales and minke whales were lunging at the surface, the humpbacks blowing intricate nets of bubbles to corral the small fish into tighter pockets before lunging through them with their mouths agape. Several of them were also raising their flukes out above the surface and slapping the surface with the flat of their tails to creat an area of disturbance that would scare and confuse the fish.
* The Dolphin 10 also reported the sighting of an ocean sunfish or mola mola.
Mola mola
* And the Dolphin 9 reported seeing Pinch kick-feeding.PINCH KICK FEED_9-29_IMG_7211
* The big news of the week would have to be the beautiful, big storm that kept the Dolphin Fleet boats tied to their floats from September 30 through October 04.