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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Month: August 2015

Fin whales and NO FOG!!

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Hello everyone, just a quick post to let you know the past 2 days have been wonderful with fin whales, minkes and even a Mola mola but the best part has been the lack of FOG!!

Here’s a photo of an ocean sunfish or Mola mola that we saw on August 27th on the morning departure.

Ocean sunfish

Ocean sunfish

Here are some fin whale photos from today, August 28th.

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Finback in some amazing evening light

Finback in some amazing evening light

And I thought I would share some photos of seals as well.  I do want to mention that I did photograph a young grey seal with a large shark bite on his hind region towards his flippers yesterday.  The attack was almost certainly from a white shark.  The number of seals have been down in the area the past few days but were a bit higher today.

male grey seal

male grey seal

harbour seal and 2 female greys

harbour seal and 2 female greys

Thanks for checking in everyone,

Cheers,

Danielle

Fog Monster and Fin Whales

Hello everyone and HOLY FUNDY FOG!  We have been dealing with this fog for over a week and it’s not just us but a large portion of the Maritimes has been swallowed up by the fog monster!  But on August 24th and 25th we managed to find finback whales on all three departures on both days!  We have even seen some very impressive lunge feeding on herring from these whales.

Here are some photos from the past 2 days, I hope you enjoy.

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Passengers watching a fin whale from the foredeck

Passengers watching a fin whale from the foredeck

lunge feeding fin, if you look closely you can see the ventral pleats and eveb some lucky herring

lunge feeding fin, if you look closely you can see the ventral pleats and eveb some lucky herring

fin whale

fin whale

fin whale

fin whale

fin whale

fin whale

Fin whale lunge feeding upside down

Fin whale lunge feeding upside down

Fin whale

Fin whale

While we were stopped watching seals yesterday evening we saw an adult bald eagle take a young gull…nature is amazing and brutal.

Bald eagle eating a young gull

Bald eagle eating a young gull

We have also had a few very brief basking shark sightings over the past 2 days, sorry, no photos…the shark went under too quick.

Thanks so much for checking in!

Cheers,

Danielle

Finners and a Leatherback Sea Turtle!!

Hello everyone…the past few days we have been dealing with some incredibly thick fog but we have been seeing whales (we did miss a few trips due to the poor visibility).  Yesterday and today we have spent time listening, finding and then watching fin whales off the Bliss Island coast but this afternoon we had an incredibly special sighting, something I have waited 14 years to see….a leatherback sea turtle!!

Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest sea turtle in the world reaching an average length of 2 meters and more than 900 kg! They have the most hydrodynamic design of any turtle and they have 7 distinct dorsal ridges on their soft, leathery carapace. Leatherbacks are unique among reptiles as they are endothermic able to maintain an internal body temperature about 18 C above the water temperature. They are also the fastest moving reptile (recorded at 35 km/h) and one of the deepest diving marine animals (more than 1200 m). Their diet consists almost entirely of jellyfish and like all marine animals plastic marine debris is a huge conservation issue.

I only got one photo of the turtle (and I know it’s not the greatest), spent most of the time just watching with my eyes and it was a quick sighting before he dove but incredibly special for all on board.  I am hoping to have more photos to share with you soon from our passengers and our Scout Boat.

leatherback sea turtle

leatherback sea turtle

We did have some great sightings of a fin whale this afternoon as well and I wanted to share some photos with you.  Our Scout Boat was a huge help today in helping to locate this whale in the fog…Thank You John!!

Finback

Finback

Finback in the fog

Finback in the fog

Fin whale surfacing close to our Scout Boat

Fin whale surfacing close to our Scout Boat (the Scout is 19.5 feet long)

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Fin whale

Thank You to everyone who has chosen to join us aboard the catamaran over the past week!

Cheers,

Danielle

Some FINtastic trips

Hello everyone, we have been having some great trips the past few days and some great sightings of both minke and finback whales.  We have also been scouting the offshore areas as well, finding more feed, birds and some fin whales out there!

Here are some fin whales from the past few days.

Finbacl Whale

Finbacl Whale

Fin whale on a terminal dive

Fin whale on a terminal dive

Finback off Spruce Island

Finback off Spruce Island

Fin whale

Fin whale

Finback off the Wolves

Finback off the Wolves

Finback off Head Harbour Light

Finback off Head Harbour Light

Finback off Head Harbour Passage

Finback off Head Harbour Passage

And of course I have to share some seal photos…

harbour and grey seals

harbour and grey seals

harbour seals

harbour seals

Thank You for checking in today.

Cheers,
Danielle

Underwater porpoise footage

Hello everyone, Nick was able to get some underwater footage of a group of porpoise feeding on a bait ball of herring!  This was taken on our 1:30pm departure on August 10th.  It’s so amazing to see what’s happening under the water!  Thank You Nick!

Cheers,

Danielle

Mola mola and a Finner

We had a pretty awesome trip this morning and I wanted to share some photos with you!

We stopped first with a Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, the heaviest bony fish, on our way offshore to search for whales.

Mola mola, ocean sunfish

Mola mola, ocean sunfish

Mola mola

Mola mola

We didn’t have to search too far as we found a large and familiar fin whale just off the edge of the Owen Basin.  We got some amazing looks at this whale, the conditions were perfect.

finback off Campobello

finback off Campobello

large blow of a fin

large blow of a fin

finback

finback

surfacing fin whale

surfacing fin whale

lower white right jaw of a finner

lower white right jaw of a finner

finback whale

finback whale

We were unable to find the fin whale in the afternoon (NOT for lack of trying, we searched near and far) but we did spend time with a minke in Head Harbour Passage.  We also stopped with a very large group of feeding gulls, porpoise and a seal…they were all feeding on a large ball of herring.  We tried to get some underwater footage and will share when I can.

Thanks so much for checking in today,

Cheers,

Danielle

Incredible breaching minke whale

Hello everyone, we have been having some wonderful trips out on the Bay of Fundy out of St. Andrews recently.  We have been spending time with mostly minke whales but the fin whale sightings have increased for the month of August as the prey in the water seems to be increasing.

On August 9th on our 10am departure we had a very special sight with a breaching minke whale!  Although it is incredibly rare to see a minke whale breach it does happen in our area more often than others and we typically see it a handful of times a season.  It’s quite often the same whale, one affectionately refered to as Gonzo due to the shape of the dorsal fin.  I was able to get quite a few photos that I wanted to share with you, I hope you enjoy.

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

minke

The harbour porpoise and seal sightings continue to be great, they are usually very consistent throughout the entire season.  We are starting to see many bald eagle on Whitehorse Island, there to try to prey upon the young birds.  This morning we counted at least 10 eagles!

Thanks for checking in,

Cheers,

Danielle

July 19th – 31st

Bird activity in the West Isles continues to build. The most recent arrivals have been hundreds of BONAPARTE’S GULLS that can be seen feeding in the tidal upwellings around Campobello and Deer island. A few LITTLE GULLS have been spotted in the area by another observer as well. There has been quite a few ARCTIC TERNS with smaller numbers of COMMON TERN beginning to show up in the area.

Whitehorse Island has been very busy with most of the HERRING and BLACK BACKED GULL chicks fledging in the last week. This draws lots of attention from the local BALD EAGLES and we have been getting some exciting views as they hunt the young gulls. As many as a dozen have been seen at the island at one time. The BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE chicks are doing very well with some of the earliest birds already fledging. It looks like the colony will be fledging a good number of chicks this year in contrast to past years. Good to see!

Alcid numbers have been up and down, we were seeing very good numbers of RAZORBILLS with a good number of father-chick pairs being seen after July 20th. A few COMMON MURRE and ATLANTIC PUFFIN have been sighted on most trips. Small numbers of GREAT CORMORANTS have also been sighted.

It has been fairly quiet for other seabirds. We did see 3 GREAT SHEARWATER in Passamaquoddy bay recently and there are a few NORTHERN GANNET in the area. At times we have been seeing good size groups of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and the odd WILSON’S STORM PETREL and PARASITIC JAEGER.

Just  reminder the the bird trip is set for September 27th and is filling up fast. Please call the Quoddy office at 506-529-2600 for details and to reserve your spot on the boat!

Cheers,
-Nick

Young herring gull testing wings

Young herring gull testing wings

Great black-backed gulls with young

Great black-backed gulls with young

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Red-necked phalaropes

Red-necked phalaropes

Herring gull fledging with pursuing adults, we saw lots of this behavior of young birds being attacked by adults during their first flights

Herring gull fledging with pursuing adults, we saw lots of this behavior of young birds being attacked by adults during their first flights

Herring gull fledging

Herring gull fledging

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Young great black-backed gull

Young great black-backed gull

Immature northern gannet

Immature northern gannet

Great cormorant

Great cormorant

Herring gull on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull

Herring gull

Razorbills

Razorbills

Razorbill father with chick

Razorbill father with chick

Group of gulls feeding on bait ball of herring

Group of gulls feeding on bait ball of herring

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

_DSC2327

Bald eagle pair on Spruce Island

_DSC2321

Juvenile bald eagle in nest on Spruce Island

_DSC2304

Common ravens on Whitehorse Island

_DSC2301

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Three kittiwake chicks in a nest on Whitehorse, first time seeing this many chicks in one nest.

Three kittiwake chicks in a nest on Whitehorse, first time seeing this many chicks in one nest.

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Least and semipalmated sandpipers

Least and semipalmated sandpipers

Black legged kittiwake

Black legged kittiwake

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte’s gull

 

 

 

Happy New Brunswick Day!

Hello everyone, hope you all had a safe and happy long weekend.  It was very busy here in St. Andrews with full trips filled with happy passengers.

We spent time on all trips the past 2 days with minke whales and we even had a very curious minke whale on the evening departure on August 3rd…I didn’t get any photos, I was too busy enjoying everything with my eyes and sharing the experience with our guests.

minke

minke

minke

minke

On our morning departure on August 3rd Captain John decided to take a run out towards Bliss to have a look around and we found a finback whale!  The seas were a bit choppy but everyone was so excited and the stability of the catamaran kept everyone comfortable.

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

On our afternoon departure of August 3rd we had some beautiful harbour porpoise sightings off Head Harbour Light.  There were approximately 50 individuals and they were feeding in the tidal current and would come so close to the boat to check us out and with the sun and clear water we could all see them so clearly through the water.  Was the highlight of that trip.

Harbour porpoise

Thanks to everyone for joining us this holiday weekend!  Keep checking back for more updates,

Cheers,

Danielle

Minkes and Finners – July 29 – August 1, 2015

Good evening everyone, sorry it has been a few days since my last update but here I am with all of our sightings from the past few days.  We have been seeing whales on every trip (except for one trip on Tuesday morning where the fog was just too thick but we tried really hard staying out extra long).  We are seeing mostly minke whales still but we did have a fin whale sighting on 2 trips on July 30th and we saw a fin whale, a different individual, today (Aug. 1).

Here are some minke whale photos from the past few days

minke

minke

minke, Slice

minke, Slice

minke

minke

minke

minke

And here are some fin whale photos from July 30th

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Fin whale photos from the morning departure on August 1st

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale, note the lower white, right jaw and the unique white patterns on the whales back

Finback whale, note the lower white, right jaw and the unique white patterns on the whales back

Finback whale blow

Finback whale blow

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

Finback whale

The seal sightings continue to be a surprise highlight for a lot of our passengers.

harbour seal (left), red headed female grey seal (middle) and male grey seal (right)

harbour seal (left), red headed female grey seal (middle) and male grey seal (right)

red headed female grey seal

red headed female grey seal

harbour seals in varying stages of molt

harbour seals in varying stages of molt

Porpoise are so sweet and an animal that most people are not familiar with.  I have included a diagram here to show the differences between a porpoise and a dolphin.

harbour porpoise

harbour porpoise

What is the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin?

What is the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin?

Thanks so much for checking in today!!  We hope the fin whale sightings continue to become more frequent but I will keep you all posted.

Cheers,

Danielle