I have been working for Quoddy Link Marine since 2002. I graduated from the University of Guelph with an honors BSc. in Marine Biology. I'm in charge of photographing, identifying and recording the whales that we see and sharing that information with Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, MA and the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station on Grand Manan, NB. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to spend the amount of time I do on the water with the whales, they are absolutely amazing creatures.
NARW UPDATE: Right whales in CCB, thanks to CCS for sharing!! Seeing Ruffian makes me so happy <3
"With two Nor’easters last week, it’s been nearly two weeks since we have been able to survey Cape Cod Bay. This has left us with a lot of questions as to who was sticking around and how many whales we’d find next time we flew. With only a small window on Monday before a third Nor’easter hit on Tuesday, we went out for an early survey, hoping to finish before winds started picking up in the afternoon.
Taking off out of Provincetown Municipal Airport, we flew down the back (i.e. eastern) side of Cape Cod. Seeing nothing there, we crossed over the elbow section of the cape, from Chatham, Harwich, past Hyannis to start surveying Cape Cod Bay from the south, working our way north. We noticed right away the past week’s turbulent weather has had an effect on the water itself. With high winds stirring up waves, there was a lot of mixing of bottom layers, causing high turbidity in the waters. This means we couldn’t see down into the water very deep, which becomes important since it lessens the chance of finding and tracking whales when they are subsurface.
Luckily, we did manage to find whales, over 30 in total. Some of these individuals have been hanging around for a while now; others were new to us this season. Interestingly, we had Eg #3191 in yet another surface active group (SAG) early in the day. He’s been seen on four of our previous flights this year, and we saw him in 2 different SAGs so far this season. On this last survey, he was in a SAG with Eg #3530 (Ruffian) and Eg # 2791.
Ruffian is exciting because it was our first sighting of him from the plane. When R/V shearwater had Ruffian from the boat on March 1st, we were surveying East of Cape Cod and so missed seeing one of our favorite survivors from air. Seeing #3191 in a SAG with #2791 was exciting because this is the second time this season that they were in surface active groups together. While these associations are not long lasting, the fact that they are in them over several weeks is interesting, and we hope that means we can count on #2791 to calve next year.
Another familiar face was Salem, Eg #3617. He is an adult male who we had in the bay already this year at the end of January, and this time he was indulging in unique behavior. He was continuously swimming on his side, slapping his pectoral flipper on the surface of the water and blowing bubbles under water. Such behavior is more common from humpbacks but getting to see some variation to the usual feeding behaviors seen in Cape Cod Bay was a treat.
Unfortunately, we also had a new whale that didn’t look so great. Eg #1711, a familiar face in previous years, was a mom last year and brought her calf here. Unfortunately, she looks emaciated and we hope feeding here will help her regain some of her fat stores, likely depleted by the energy that went into rearing last year’s calf.
With more high winds and winter storms headed our way, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we can get out again soon enough and hopefully whales will be skim feeding regularly by then. Manage" ... See MoreSee Less
I'm so sorry, I've fallen way behind on the photo sharing!
These spectacular shots were taken on the March 12 aerial survey. Amy's Notes from the Plane are posted in the comments, and you can read t...
A few weeks back I posted a link about how Nick Hawkins was down off Cococs Island in Costa Rica working with a team attaching acoustic tracking devices to sharks. Here's a little about his adventure open water diving with these apex predators! Thanks for sharing Nick Hawkins! ... See MoreSee Less
Free diving with sharks in the open ocean is an exhilarating experience - I am always in awe in the presence of apex predators so perfectly adapted to their environment. These silky sharks, along with...
“Balloons do not go to heaven. They land in the ocean and choke sea turtles, and the ribbons entangle birds. Many times, they end up on a beach as litter. Even the "biodegradable" kind can hurt animals before they have a chance to disappear. Animals far from the ocean, such as horses, have been hurt and killed by balloons. Some balloons have started fires when they got entangled in power lines. Balloons blow. Don't let them go! 🌏🌏🌏🌏 Please share.” ... See MoreSee Less
Balloons do not go to heaven. They land in the ocean and choke sea turtles, kill dolphins and whales, and the ribbons entangle birds. Many times, they end up on a beach as litter. Even the ones mark...
"The threat of this fishing gear is hard to understate. One study of all available photographs of right whales taken from 1980 to 2009 found that 83 percent showed evidence of having been entangled in fishing gear at least once. Of those, more than half were entangled at least twice and some as many as seven times. Some, unable to free themselves, suffocate and drown. Most break away; some of those end up dying months later from the injuries they suffered." ... See MoreSee Less