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Category Archives: Naturalist Notebook

Freaky Funny Feeding

Individual whales can be identified based upon certain markings. North Atlantic Right whales are identified by the patterns of rough patches of skin on their heads, called callosities. Fin whales by the swirls of color on their shoulders, called chevrons. Humpback whales, by the pattern on the underside of their tales (or flukes). Just as […]

Right Whales: The Underdogs of the Whale World

Back in the winter of 2015, I worked as an intern for the Center for Coastal Studies’ Right Whale Team. We spent many chilly days aboard the research vessel Shearwater, constantly scanning the horizon for the elusive Right Whale. On one particular day in early spring, we saw that distinct V-shaped blow. “Right Whale, 9 […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – August 20, 2016 to August 26, 2016

This week, the numbers of finback whales between Race Point and the Station have continued to increase.  They have continued to feed, sometimes lunging at the surface and sometimes beneath it.  But their dispersal has been evolving.  At first, most of the finbacks were moving around on their own, but as the weeks have progressed, […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – August 13, 2016 to August 19, 2016

I think the best way to describe the week’s whalewatching, this week, is to tell you about a couple of the trips I was the naturalist on.  Let’s start with Saturday morning, August 13. The day starts sunny and bright.  There is a light breeze but the air is warm.  The water in the harbor […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – August 06, 2016 to August 12, 2016

On Saturday, August 6, we were, alas, unable to repeat the experiment from the past two weeks.  That was because the finback whales were far closer in than they have been.  We started seeing finwhales off the Herring Cove bathhouse.  It was so early in the trip, in fact, that I had to explain to […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – July 30, 2016 to August 05, 2016

This week, I overheard some passengers asking if they could get tickets to go on the Dolphin VII.  They were told by the ticket person that they didn’t want to go on “that boat” because it is such a “little boat.”  The Dolphin VII is ten feet shorter than the other boats.  That is true.  […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – July 23, 2016 to July 29, 2016

“Amazing”, “Crazy”,  “Fabulous”, “Spectacular”, “Wonderful”, and “Extravagant” were some of the words used by Dolphin Fleet naturalists to describe the sightings of  feeding whales this week. On July 23, Mike described the surfacing of a group of five finback whales that were feeding beneath the surface as “what a way to end the day!”  Though […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – July 16, 2016 to July 22, 2016

This week was another week full of humpback whale sightings.  Reports from some of the trips feature descriptions of humpback whales feeding at the surface, while reports from others are filled with stories of breaching, lobtailling, and flipper-slapping.  The reported feeding activity of humpback whale mothers is usually paired with the aerial activities of their […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – July 09, 2016 to July 15, 2016

This weeks whalewatchers, too, were treated to numerous views of feeding humpback whales.  When the animals were feeding near the surface, the usual spectrum of techniques was evident.  There was the blowing of single clouds of bubbles to corral the schooling fish closer together as well as the blowing of fine nets of bubbles that […]

Naturalist’s Notebook – July 02, 2016 to July 08, 2016

For most of this week, the adults continued feeding at depth, despite the huge numbers of forage fish, mostly sand eels, just beneath the surface.  While they pursued their sustenance, the calves continued their assault on the air.  Again, this week, the reports from nearly all trips were of calves breaching and flippering and lobtailling. […]