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Naturalist’s Notebook: October 03 to October 09

*October 03 and October 04 were spent riding out the remaining hours of the storm.
* The rough, choppy water did not deter the enthusiastic passengers on October 05 who delighted in close views of a finback whale and a half dozen humpback whales. Nor did it detract from their excitement at seeing the breaching minke whale.IMG_1878-8-28-br-minkeIMG_1882-br-minke-8-28
* By October 6, the wind and the seas from last week’s storm had subsided, leaving light southwest winds and a slight swell. These were accompanied by a bright sky that made for a beautiful day on the water. Minke whales and humpbacks were seen throughout the day, including a female named Milkweed and her 2014 calf. And also, Salt. The Grand Dame of Stellwagen Bank has been seen every year since she was first photographed and named in 1976. In the afternoon, Milkweed’s calf was observed blowing bubble clouds and even what appeared to be bubble nets while kick feeding. It is about the time of year that female humpbacks would be teaching thier calves to hunt for themselves, as the period for nursing is coming to an end. By the end of the calf’s first year, its mother with have taught it everything it needs to know to be a whale. She will have taught it everything that we try to teach our children in their first fifteen or twenty, or in some cases forty years.
* Minke whales, finback whales, and humpback whales were all spotted on October 07. Even with the growing wind and rising seas some very good looks were enjoyed of Nile and her calf and Milkweed and her calf.

A small minke whale breaks the surface
A small minke whale breaks the surface
A fin whale surfaces
A fin whale surfaces

Humpback flipperdragging humpbacks
* The blustery continued on October 08. That did not interfere with the Dolphin 8’s efforts to spot whales. Nearly a dozen humpback whales and a minke whale were found, to the delight of the passengers. There was some kick feeding and a few bubble nets, but for the most part the whales were just zipping around beneath the surface on the southwest corner of the bank.
* A number of mother and calf pairs were sighted on October 09. Nile, Milkweed, and Wizard and their young of the year were all present. In addition, there was a great deal of feeding, including the blowing of bubble nets and kick feeding.