July 27

From Naturalist Hannah

We had a great day on the ocean today! It was a much calmer ride compared to yesterday as we headed down to a similar area. The southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank is still very productive and we have had great luck there in the past. As we made our way down we had a large variety of bird life including a few different species of shearwaters, Wilson’s storm petrels and northern gannets! It is interesting how the bird life changes throughout the season and we welcomed all of our winged friends back to the area. We started the trip with some great looks at 2 humpback whales. These are a medium sized baleen whale and are most commonly spotted on Stellwagen Bank. Both whales have been spending some time in that area and one was ID as Pele. Pele was born in 1997 and is named after the famous Brazilian soccer player. These whales weren’t swimming particularly fast but were circling the area. We got some great looks and then decided to check out a blow (or spout) from another whale a little ways away. We were pleasantly surprised to come across a single fin whale! These are truly enormous animals and can reach lengths in excess of 70 feet. This was a large fin whale and was taking a few breaths then cruising just below the surface. We also spotted a few minke whales close by but did not get any great looks at them. We ended the trip with another humpback whale that was heading south towards the group that we has seen earlier. This particular whale was spending a large majority of the time underwater and had covered a large area between surfacings. The dorsal fin of this animal was very pointed which is a great example of how we are able to ID the whales based on the fluke pattern and the dorsal fin shape. Overall, today was a great trip to Stellwagen Bank and we were able to see all of the common species of baleen whales that call the Gulf of Maine their summer home!

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