Aug 8

From Naturalist Allison

Our morning trip brought us to the northwest corner of Stellwagen bank, where we encountered our first sighting – a bubble feeding humpback whale! I’m not positive on an ID for this whale yet, as it wasn’t showing its tail flukes consistently. Its dorsal fin and satellite tag scar on its back are consistent with a whale named Doric, but I didn’t get too many good fluke shots to say for sure.


This whale was doing some bubble feeding under the surface, as evident by large clouds of green bubbles that rose to the surface. Our whale would then surface just a few moments after the bubbles. Bubble feeding is a feeding technique humpback whales use in order to stun schools of fish in order to make them ball tighter together, which just makes it easier for the whale to gobble them all up! We got some great looks at this feeding whale before we decided to move on to another whale in the area – a male named Mogul, born in 1986.

MogulMogulMogul was also doing some bubble feeding on the bank today, and we watched the bubble clouds come up and the whale surface shortly after. Neither of our whales were coming up with their mouths open through the bubble clouds, so it is more than likely that they were doing some feeding underneath the surface. Mogul gave us some great looks, blowing a bubble cloud very close to our bow at one point, and surfacing very close to us!

Our afternoon trip brought us to a pretty similar location on Stellwagen, but we went just a little bit further as we had some reports of other whales in the area. We were able to locate them – we found a pair of humpback whales, one of which I ID’d as Sirius, a male born in 1982.

SiriusSiriusWhen we first got into the area, we thought there was only one whale, and we saw it go down on a deeper dive. When this whale resurfaced, we realized there were two! Another whale in the area had joined Sirius. They became associated only briefly, before breaking up and coming up at different intervals from one another. The whale that Sirius was with did not fluke so I am unable to identify the whale at this point. We got some awesome looks at these two humpbacks surfacing, sometimes together and sometimes not. There is so much to learn still about humpback whale associations! After watching the pair for a bit, we decided to turn back in the direction of Gloucester harbor, but we knew that we would be passing whales on the way back in – we just had to re-locate them! After a bit of searching, we spotted two different blows in two different areas. There was a humpback whale pretty close to us, but it wasn’t fluking so we decided to keep on going past that whale to the other whale, and we came across Mogul, one of the same whales we had this morning! Mogul was still bubble feeding when we came across him and was not staying down for very long at all, which allowed us to get many looks before we had to make our way back to Gloucester and end our trip.

One Response to “Aug 8”

  1. Bobby Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful afternoon and interesting details about the whales and our location! I again wish you the best as you head off to your next adventure. We got some good pictures too…..on my facebook page