Whale Sightings 7/5/22 to 7/10/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of 7/5/22 to 7/10/22 from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
These last few days have been fantastic! 75 feeding humpback whales… unreal! We were still a mile or two away when we noticed two whales flying through the air and landing in massive splashes. From there we watched in awe as groups of up to 6-7 individuals mixed among singles and pairs, all blowing bubble nets and gorging on sand lance.
Splice seemed to use our boat to back some fish up against while it kick fed and surfaced with a huge open mouth mere feet away from us! It then continued to investigate and possibly rub against the hull until we were able to creep away. Once again, I can’t find the words to describe the experience! From there, we centered ourselves to enjoy the whales around us- Crossbeam, Lariat, Hippocampus, Aerospace, Ghost, Splice, Wyoming, Tear, Piano, Mira, Iris, Fex, Windrose, and Touche- with the most spectacular display of open mouth feeding. The minke whales, fin whales, and Atlantic white sided dolphins along with great shearwaters and Wilson’s storm petrels rounded out the amazing day!
Today the Aurora headed out to the middle of Stellwagen Bank, to the far east in search of whales. And boy did we find them! So far we have only been able to ID two of these very surface active whales: Tear and Condensation. However, there were something close to thirty humpbacks in the area. These whales were breaching, flipper slapping, and tail breaching. Basically they were doing every fun behavior for tourists to enjoy without showing their flukes for us to identify them from. It was a fantastic day on the water and there was even a close approach from a minke whale! There were also many seabirds in the area that the passengers got up close and personal with! Satisfied, we returned to Boston!
Today’s trips were absolutely unforgettable!
We started with the 10 am trip aboard the Sanctuary. We headed out further east into Stellwagen Bank and were greeted by spouts as far as we could see. We must have had at least 50 Humpback Whales in the area, with an enormous group feeding cooperatively nearby. They would blow a huge ring of bubbles, then come up through the center, mouths wide open. We were delighted to see that this supergroup even blew a bubble ring right in front of us. We watched in awe as at least 12 Humpbacks surfaced through the bubbles, mouths full of fish next to us! There was also another huge group not too far away, with individual Humpbacks kick-feeding in between the two groups. While some have yet to be identified, we were able to identify Buzzard, Nazca, Buckshot and calf, Tear, Soot, Mira, Draco, Piano, Dyad, Tilt, Etch-A-Sketch, Splice, Condensation, Orbit, Iris, and Lariat mixing and matching in these whale clusters. We also had some Minke Whales and a Fin Whale in the mix! We watched these animals continue to gorge themselves all around us, when we suddenly noticed some big splashes out ahead. Buzzard and another Humpback had began breaching and lob-tailing! With those last looks, we said goodbye to our whales and headed for home, eager to see what the afternoon would bring.
We then headed back out on the Sanctuary for the 2:30 pm trip, but this trip would take a very exciting turn. We had barely gotten past Deer Island in Boston Harbor before we saw some big splashes! We had found a juvenile Humpback Whale, just a stone’s throw from the dock. This animal soon settled into leisurely travel away from us, so we decided to press on towards the bank once again. Not too far from our destination, we spotted a passing Fin Whale, who gave us a great close look before going on a dive. We finally made it to the eastern part of the bank again to find that the large groups of Humpbacks had spread out a little bit, but there were still several whales in the area. We found a slow-moving trio of Humpback Whales that consisted of Joy, Rocker and a whale who still needs to be identified. Given their sluggish behavior, imagine our surprise when they suddenly rocketed up out of the water in front of us before going into a stunning triple breach! While the mystery whale slipped away, Rocker and Joy continued to breach and flipper slap, with Rocker even pooping during a lobtail (see photo)! At one point, they were both flipper slapping right next to our boat, giving us some unforgettable views. With our time for the day exhausted and a schedule to keep, we reluctantly said goodbye to our two rambunctious whales and headed back home.
What a once in a lifetime day on the water!
Today we boarded the Asteria with a hearty group of passengers and headed toward the Midbank area of Stellwagen in search of whales. We were not disappointed! Shortly after beginning our active search for whales, we found a series of scattered blows and lots of bird activity at the surface. Before we knew it we were surrounded by feeding whales on all sides! Amongst the group of whale soup we were able to identify Infinity, Dome, Exclaim, Ampersand, Hatchmark, and Gladiator. We also were thrilled to be the first to report Dashdot as a new mother this year! We were able to get some beautiful looks at mom and tiny, light gray calf amidst the action.
We exulted at the incredible behaviours and feeding we were able to witness during our time on the water. We saw kick feeding, bubble nets, dragging, and some impressive bellows from Dome. We also got to see some beautiful acrobatics from some whales pirouetting just below the surface, lifting their flippers out of the water. It even turned into a multi species day as we had a quick drive-by from a group of 4 fin whales, offering imposing perspective of the scope and size of our marine neighbors.
Reluctantly, we carefully exited the area and began our trip back to Boston; our hearts and minds full of the impressive sights we bore witness to today.
Linnea & Olivia
Today the Aurora headed out towards Stellwagen in search of whales and were excited to find ourselves in the mix with about 15-20 feeding humpbacks! These whales were busy bubble cloud feeding and lunging, with some whales also engaging in kick feeding. We were excited to see Dashdot in the mix today, who was followed closely by a calf, leading us to suspect we may have found a new mom and calf pair! We also got some fun looks at Reflection, who would first chin slapping the water before launching into a round of kick feeding. We also got some fantastic looks at Ampersand, Dome, Infinity, Pinch, Hatchmark, Habanero, and Parens who were mixed in with this group. We got some quick looks at some Minke whales, as well as a group of 3-4 Fin whales who were travelling a little beyond the humpbacks. We got some final looks at these whales as they began to flipper slap behind us before we reluctantly made our way back to Boston.
Overall, a fantastic day on the bank!
Sydney, Colin, and Caitlin
Today we began the day on the 10AM whale watch aboard the Sanctuary heading out to the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We started with Infinity who proudly breached twice in front of the boat! She led us to a pair of feeding humpbacks: Ampersand and a T5 friend. While we watched them we could see at least ten other humpbacks in the area as well as two finbacks. We moved onto a group of four, enticed by a smaller blow. This group included Infinity (again), Gladiator, and Dashdot. That small blow turned out to be coming from Dashdot’s calf who is already strong enough to lift up her fluke when she dives! One of these whales flipper slapped and we took that as our sign to return to Boston before our next trip.
And onto round 2! At 2:30 we again returned to the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We started this time with Habanero. Then we met up again with Infinity, Dashdot, her calf, and a yet to be ID’ed juvenile whale. We can tell it is a juvenile because of the gray on its fluke. These whales moved on so we watched three more in the area: Parens, Crossbeams, and Dome. There were at least twenty humpbacks in the area. There also were a lot of tuna chasing fish along with a plethora of birds. Then we saw lob tailing and flipper flapping in the distance. We checked it out only to find Infinity, Dashdot, and the calf again! It was adorable seeing how big Dashdot’s pectoral was next to her calf! Satisfied and sunburnt we returned to Boston!
Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!
Today the Asteria headed to the eastern edge of Stellwagen Bank in search of wildlife. We were excited to see spouts and splashes around us! We had Humpback Whales kick-feeding and bubble net feeding all around us, which made for some exciting looks. Of all the whales crisscrossing the area, we were able to identify Ampersand and Grackle together, with additional looks at Scylla and Iris nearby, among others to be identified still. It was remarkable to see this many whales feeding in the area, since we did not even have time to go see all of them. We also had some quick glances at two Fin Whales, and a close approach by a curious Minke Whale. Delighted with our findings, we headed back to Boston. It was a gorgeous day on the water.
Today aboard the Aurora, the 12pm whale watch made its way towards the eastern edge of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of searching, we spotted several blows in the area. We started on a pair of humpback whales who turned out to be Lariat and Aerospace. These two ended up joining a larger group of humpbacks who were kick feeding and bubble net feeding! Some of the IDs I have for members of the group included Shuffleboard, Bandit, Lariat, Aerospace, and Iris. The bigger group split up and we followed Shuffleboard, Lariat, and Aerospace. Aerospace and Lariat both decided to get very active and breach multiple times! Aerospace even breached close to our boat a few times! Shuffleboard was also very active continuing to kick feed and lunging through a bubble cloud. Right before we left, Tongs and her 2022 calf popped up not far from us, so we got some great looks at this adorable mom and calf pair. After one last breach and bubble cloud feeding from Aerospace and Lariat, we had to head back to Boston. It was a really, really fantastic day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Today we again began the day on the Sanctuary at 10AM heading to the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We spotted a few finbacks and minkes, before sighting a whale tail lobbing! This turned out to be Putter who happily tail lobbed, breached, and flipper slapped even though there was a charter boat very close to him. Level was also in the area! As we headed out, we saw Grackle and Ampersand go on a dive in the distance! Finally we found a logging finback waiting for us on our way back to Boston. In total we saw five humpbacks in the area, four finbacks, and five minkes.
For our second trip, the 2:30, conditions had taken a turn for the worst. However, we were less than an hour in when a finback whale came alongside the boat! We then headed on towards the bank but never made it because four miles west of the bank, we found a pair of whales! One whale was breaching and flipper slapping. This pair turned out to be Music and Pitcher. They quickly grew tired, and we spent almost a full hour with our logging girls! Satisfied and sunburnt we returned to Boston.
See you on the flip side!
We made our way to Stellwagen Bank on board the Aurora in search of whales. In the shadow of Provincetown, we spotted several blows in the area. We were surrounded by Humpback Whales, who were swimming in all directions. We spotted a group of three, with one of those three being a little calf! We soon realized it was Milkweed and her calf, joined by Eruption. These whales were taking short dives, which allowed us to get some great looks. Milkweed’s calf even spent quite some time right next to our boat, giving us a thorough look over. Close by was another trio of Humpbacks, Cajun, Pele and GOM-1504 (nicknamed Chunk), as well as a larger group that included A-Plus, Nile and her calf, and Conflux. Nile’s calf even gave us a close approach too! We also caught a few quick glances at a Minke Whale, giving us a two species day! Happy with our sightings, we said goodbye to our whales and headed back to Boston. It was an awesome day on the water!
Today the noon whale watch ventured out on the Asteria to the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We could see quite a few blows in the area and started our whale watch with Nile, her calf, and Confux. Nile is Mira’s favorite whale who she hasn’t seen since her first day of the season so she was exstatic! There seemed to be some interesting feeding happening further off so we passed by Milkweed, her calf, and Eruption to check it out. There was a group of five humpbacks blowing bubble nets, dragging, and open mouth feeding as well several other singles in the area! Our group of five consisted of Crossbeam, Dome, Bounce, Rocker, and Mira! At one point Etch-a-Sketch joined them only to leave shortly thereafter. It was a fabulous day on the water!
This morning the 10 am whale watch headed out towards the middle of Stellwagen bank, and we were drawn to a large group of blows. We found ourselves surrounded by 2 groups of humpback whales! We were quickly surprised by multiple breaches from a young whale, who turned out to be Milkweed 22 Calf! Milkweed was not far away and was hanging out with another whale named Eruption. We noticed another familiar calf pop up close to the bow, and this was Nile 22 Calf. Nile was busy charging around the area with Flock, Conflux, and A-Plus! We watched on with awe with whales on all sides of us, when we were surprised by yet another group of humpbacks, Chunk (GOM-1504), Pele, and Cajun! These groups began to intermix with one another and offered passengers fantastic looks on all sides of the vessel. We were treated to multiple close approaches, and several whiffs of whale breath! We realized we had run out of time, and truly grateful for the incredible time we spent with these whales, we made our way home to Boston, looking forward to the afternoon!
The 2:30 pm whale watch returned to the middle of Stellwagen bank, and we quickly realized that the seas and winds had built since our morning trip. With a brave group of passengers, we continued on, and it sure was worth it! We found a group of 8 bubble net feeding humpbacks, a rare occurrence to see so many whales working cooperatively together here on the bank! Our first look at this group was a huge bubble net, followed by a breaching whale in the distance. We got a few more looks at some incredible examples of cooperative feeding from this group, before they began to spread out. Our original group of 8 included Mira, Rocker, Piano, Crossbeam, Dome, Bounce, Etch-A-Sketch, and Colt! One of the most interesting things about this group is that Dome is the mother of Crossbeam who is 10 years old, and it was incredibly surprising to see these 2 cooperatively feeding together which is something we would not typically expect. After these whales began to break apart, we spent the rest of the trip watching small groups of whales kick feeding and breaching all around us, including some incredible looks at Piano who was busy tail breaching ahead of us. We realized we had run out of time, and after a spectacular afternoon on the bank, we made our way home to Boston.
Overall an incredible day for whale watching!
Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch made its way out towards Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. Before we made it to the bank, we saw Scylla and A-Plus traveling together. These two lovely ladies were cruising very slowly at the surface which allowed us to get some great looks at them. We continued on to Stellwagen where we got a brief look at Habanero before we spent most of our time with Mira the humpback whale. Mira was kick feeding and blowing bubble clouds, Mira even lunged up through them a few times! We got some really great looks at Mira, and a brief look at Music the humpback before we had to head back to Boston.
The 2:30pm whale watch made its way a little further south in search of other marine life. As we got to the area, we spotted several blows in the area. There were at least twenty different humpbacks in this area! There were several groups mixing while feeding. Some of the IDs for the groups were Nile and her 2022 calf, Milkweed and her 2022 calf, Eruption, Cajun, Chunk, Bounce, Ember, Aerospace, Bandit, Hippocampus, and Mira, with many more yet to be identified! Each group were blowing bubble clouds and lunging through them! We also had several whales kick feeding. There was also a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins mixed in with the whales. The cutest moment of the trip was one of the calves was interacting with the dolphins, both seemed very curious of one another. After some incredible feeding, close approaches, and of course beautiful fluking dives, we had to head back to Boston. It was a really amazing day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Colin, Caitlin, and Gracie
This morning the Aurora headed out to Stellwagen Bank in search of wildlife. We got there to see a Humpback Whale making quite a splash! It was a whale named Mira, who was kick feeding nearby. We got some fantastic looks at this whale throughout the trip as he would lift his head up out of the water and hit the water chin first before kick-feeding. There were other kick-feeding Humpback Whales in the area, including a whale named Epee and a whale named Ember. Amidst all this activity, we even got a quick glance of a spy-hopping Minke Whale before starting to make our way back home. With such a great morning, we were excited to see what the afternoon would bring.
The afternoon trip aboard the Aurora made its way a little further south. We arrived to find Humpback Whales as far as the eye could see! These whales were mixing and matching together, blowing bubble clouds and kick-feeding everywhere. Some were working alone, some in small groups, and there were a few massive groups of 8 or more. There must have been at least 70 whales scattered throughout the area. Amidst the hustle and bustle, we were able to identify Cajun, Pele, GOM-1504 (Chunk), Milkweed and calf, Dome, Rocker, Mira, Aerospace, Bounce, Hippocampus, Iris, Doric, Soot, Tear, Level, Fern and Nile and her calf! Surrounding these whales were very hungry clusters of birds, with one greedy seagull even snatching a fish right out of a whale’s mouth (see last photo). We also got to see a pod of Atlantic-White Sided Dolphins in the area. We were in awe of the sheer number of whales we saw, and it reminded us how lucky we are to go observe these animals in their natural habitat. Happy with our sightings, we said goodbye to our whales and made way for Boston once more. What a remarkable day on the water!
Today the noon boat set out on the Sanctuary to look for whales. We began with a pair of whales and a single. The pair was Ravine and Scylla. However, there was crowding from one of the small boats, so we set off to find other whales. After quite a bit more time we passed by a bait ball with five minkes feeding on it. Then we reached a lot of feeding whales! We spent most of our time with a pair: Ampersand and Grackle. We also got some close looks at Lariat. Satisfied and sunburnt we returned to Boston again!
From Boston we again headed out on our 5PM sunset whale watch. Upon arriving at the bank we met with a fin whale. We moved onto a group of five whales: Milkweed, her calf, Cajun, GOM-1504, and Bounce! Then this group merged with another group of five humpbacks: Nile, her calf, Aerospace, Eruption, and Jabiru. Nile’s calf breached multiple times for us! Satisfied and sunburnt we again returned to Boston!
The 10 AM whale watch departed from Central Wharf eager to see some baleen whales. Luckily for us, within a few minutes of being on Stellwagen Bank, we found ourselves in an area with approximately 20-25 whales! All of these whales were attracting large flocks of birds while actively feeding in the area. We spent over an hour watching eight different Humpback whales: A-Plus, Bounce, Bandit, Eruption, Grackle, Habanero, Leonid, and Music. These whales were moving around, forming and reforming their groups as they blew bubbles and fed together. It was an excellent example of how fluid and temporary associations can be in baleen whales. We also had a brief sighting of a familiar mom and calf pair, Nile and her 2022 calf, as they fluked right next to our boat. In addition to our humpback whale sightings, we had several minkes pop up around the boat! Towards the end of our trip, A-Plus, Leonid, Bounce, and Eruption swam across our path, giving the bow exceptional looks and reminding us just how massive they are! These four whales finished off our trip by lunging through two large bubble nets next to our boat. After an exciting hour with these eight humpback whales, we turned our boat and slowly headed back home.
With all the excitement on the morning whale watch, the Asteria headed out at 2:30 PM ready for another opportunity to see the whales! We journeyed to the middle of Stellwagen Bank, the area where whales were seen feeding earlier in the morning. With visibility so good we were able to see Boston from Stellwagen Bank, we spotted between 15-20 whales around us! Our first close sighting was of a whale named Bandit who surprised us with an exceptional dive right next to our boat. While Bandit was on a dive, we were able to watch several active minkes move around the area. These minkes were surfacing often which gave us a chance to appreciate the difference between them and a Humpback whale. After a few moments with these whales, we continued on to find two more whales: Tear and Fern. These whales were logging at the surface for a few moments and before taking some short fluking dives. We enjoyed the remainder of our time with this whale duo as they moved leisurely around the area.
It was a fantastic and busy day on the Sanctuary today!
11am and 3:30pm Whale Sightings
We boarded the Aurora and made way for the western edge of Stellwagen Bank, where we were once again met with a wall of blows! Humpback whales popped up in all directions, kickfeeding, lunging, blowing dramatic bubble nets, and dragging! IDs include Ampersand, Bounce, Leonid, Rocker and many more! Our star of the day was Bandit, who has a unique kickfeeding method that involves a slicing motion of its’ tail. Bandit hung close to the boat, kicking and dragging, so close we could see the water leaving its’ mouth! Suddenly, Etch-a-Sketch appeared right next to our port pulpit, so close it seemed as though she wanted to board the boat. As she dragged away from us, you could see the abundance of sand lance she managed in her haul (see photo, a special guest is along for the ride.) She engaged in her unique and refined kickfeeding, while a pair consisting of Grackle and another whale blew a bubble net just inches from the stern! This close to boat feeding continued until we had to sneak out to make our way back to Boston, excited to return for the afternoon.
The 3:30 p.m. whale watch headed back to the same direction, with incredible visibility and beautifully flat seas. We arrived again at the southern end of Stellwagen Bank, meeting up with several distinct groups of whales. Our first group was A-Plus and Epee, who were being closely followed by some needy Atlantic White Sided dolphins. Seemingly displeased with their presence the pair trumpeted and flipper slapped a few times before taking a fluking dive. We then met up with a group of five humpbacks, including Cajun, Jabiru, Milkweed, and her 2022 calf. This group did a stellar close approach before diving, but the calf remained at the surface, entertaining us for a while. To our surprise, the next surfacing was of 10 whales in one large group! Our previous sightings had joined with four new whales, Nile, her 2022 calf, Eruption, and Bounce! Close approaches of all ten whales proceeded to follow for the next 20 minutes, and each whale took turns swimming under the boat, around the pulpits, and popping up all around. It certainly required some careful spotting and navigation by Captain Jeff, and he was able to grant us some excellent looks! After some time, we began to make our way out of the area, having enjoyed an experience that was once in a lifetime.
This afternoon we headed out towards the middle of Stellwagen bank in search of whales, and we were delighted to discover 15-25 humpback whales busy feeding! We started our trip watching a few clusters of feeding whales including Ampersand, Grackle, and Tear. Doric was the star of the start of our trip, kick feeding and lunging right next to the boat! We moved on to get some quick looks at Rocker before we were distracted by some familiar kick feeding. We were excited to find Etch-A-Sketch, who was busy doing her characteristic kick feeding, and lunging up with an open mouth at the surface! We spent most of the rest of our trip with Etch-A-Sketch, who also had a fresh wound (see photo) which we suspect may be from her scraping the bottom while feeding on Sand lance! We started to watch the clock but were able to get some quick looks at Anvil and her Calf, as well as Bandit who was engaging in an energetic display of kick feeding, very different then the style of feeding we saw from Etch-A-Sketch! We realized we had run out of time, and made our way back to Boston, excited to come back for the sunset cruise!
The sunset cruise headed back out to the middle of Stellwagen and found a very different group of whales and activities then we had in the morning! We estimated about 15 humpbacks were in the area around us. We spent our trip surrounded by 2 groups of humpbacks, which would frequently join and split while we watched. We quickly realized that we were not only in the presence of humpbacks, but also at least 30 Atlantic white sided dolphins! These dolphins were intermixed with the humpbacks, and even approached the boat directly on the port side. It was incredible to see these dolphins interacting so closely with the humpbacks! In one of the groups of humpbacks, we had Nile and her Calf, Eruption, A-plus, and Bounce, and in the other group we had Jabiru, Cajun, Milkweed and her Calf, and Aerospace. The calves would frequently come together at the surface and roll around with some of the dolphins! Niles calf frequently spy hopped and chin breached during the trip and was clearly very curious about the dolphins. The adults were quickly travelling around the area and greeted passengers with multiple close approaches. While we wished we could have stayed out all night, we realized we had run out of time and made our way home to Boston.
Overall, a fantastic day for whale watching!
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 5/13/22至5/15/22