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Naturalist’s Notebook: September 19 to September 25

* A little more of the windy and cold weather for September 19. That did not prevent the Dolphin X from travelling to the SouthWest Corner for views of a dozen humpback whales. With the choppy seas, today was not a day for feeding. The humpbacks were moving into and out of large groups that changed constantly. The highlight of the day was definately that way that the calves reacted to the big seas. Several spent time tail-breaching and flipper-slapping. There were even a few breaches.TORNADO 14 CALF TB_9-19_IMG_2764
*The above is an example of how Tornado’s calf was affected by the chop.

* September 20 was also a day for watching humpback whales. The calves again were the most active of the whales, spyhopping and approaching close to the vessels. But Pele, as if not to be outdone by the young ones, breached just off the bow of the Dolphin 8. ININITY BREACH_6-30_IMG_3056

* Imagine forty tons of muscle and bone and blubber being propelled through the surface of the water and into the air by a tail more than a third the length of the animal’s body and so strong that it only took three sweeps of it to carry this bulky creature into the air. Now imagine that two of these animals are doing this together. That was the highlight of September 21.

* If September 20 was mostly about the calves, September 22 was about large adult whales being active at the surface. Tail-breaching by Pele. Lob-tailling by Pitcher. And breaching by Pepper.
*And of course there was a little bit of feeding, like the above photo of Piano kicking her flukes above the surface to corral small fish before diving and lunging through the school.

* With a bit of turn of the weather, September 23 was bright and clear. The breeze came from the northwest and brought up a sea of about 2 or 3 feet. The humpback whales were again on Stellwagen Bank. In addition, a finback whale was spotted along Race Point Beach. This whale doesn’t have a name yet but is known as 12065. The first two digits indicate that it was first photographed in 2012. Good looks were enjoyed of both species.
* In the afternoon, the winds shifted to the southwest and a finback was also seen off of Race Point
Beach. This one was one known as Pinch. Pinch and 12065 are regularly seen during May and June but not so much at this time of the season. Also, both of these whales were part of a group of finbacks that spent a month in 2013 close to Plymouth in the mornings before moving moving to Race Point in the afternoons and then on to the southwest corner of the bank in the evenings.
* The humpbacks were spending the early part of the day logging (resting) and the afternoon feeding deep beneath the surface. Both species allowed wonderful looks.

* September 24 was an incredible day of feeding humpback whales. Truth is, I think the photos speak for themselves.

That was the story on September 25.
9-25_ feeding_IMG_3992
* And then there was the sunfish.