With Stellwagen Bank being reported with few animals and birds to be seen, the captain and NECWA crew decided to haul out on the Atlantic side of Cape Cod and steam down to Chatham. It was well worth the time taken to get there!
Another bird seen that was of great interest was a Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus. This gull was seen with a group of seabirds taking advantage of the whales' feeding behaviors. Birds are opportunists and sometimes one mistakenly ends up in the mouth of a whale!
Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, are about 45 feet long, have baleen plates that work as sieves to strain krill and fish from the huge mouthfuls of water they gulp, and individuals can be identified by the black and white patterns on the undersides of their flukes as well as the shapes of their dorsal fins.
We observed a variety of behaviors including kick feeding where the whales use their flukes to slap the water and stun prey, or lunge feeding where individuals or teams of whales work together to form a bubble net to confuse and concentrate prey into a ball where they can swim under them and engulf them in their huge mouths. I await the official NECWA trip report as I use it to go back and identify the whales in the images I have taken by using the PDF document posted at the Center for Coastal Studies website http://www.coastalstudies.org/images/GOM%20humpback%20ID%20guide_CCS2013.pdf
Updates to this blog and slideshow will be made once the trip report is in and I can identify the whales seen.
Captain John Boats - http://www.captjohn.com/
Please visit my Zazzle store for some fun whale and seabird merchandise. I receive a royalty from purchases made and I would love to donate a portion of those proceeds to NECWA to help them continue their much needed research and educational work.
I plan to add more items as soon as I create them - namely some new prints, calendars and tee shirts honoring the animals seen on this and other NECWA trips.
PLEASE NOTE! All images in this blog are protected under copyright 2014 Donna Lorello/Sunshine's Creative Endeavors. If you wish to purchase a limited usage license or prints, please use the Contact Me form. Please do not steal them and post elsewhere without my permission. All photographs were taken with a Canon 50D and Sigma 150-500mm lens.
And I leave you with a slideshow of more images from this incredible trip. Please, help keep our oceans clean so we all can continue to enjoy healthy seas and these amazing animals!