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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Sightings and Updates

FINtastic Day – July 21, 2017

Hello everyone, Danielle back again with another update from Jolinne!

July 21, 2017
This morning’s departure, we spend a bit of time searching for whales inshore. Stopped at Whitehorse Island, as in the past week we have gone from having 2 chicks, to none, adults sitting on nests, then they all left and it seems like some have returned. There’s also lots of Bonaparte gulls and black guillemots still on the island. We then headed offshore, as we got a call from Fundy Tide Runners that there were a few fin whales in the area. On our way out we spotted greater shearwaters, razorbills (adults with their chick) storm petrels and phalaropes. We spent time with 3 fin whales, 2 of which were traveling/feeding side by side. There was also lots of seals feeding in the area. These whales were quite easy to watch, short dive times, not traveling large distances and if anything they seemed to get closer and closer to the boat every time. We even had one swim alongside the catamaran just beneath the surface for some time before surfacing.

The afternoons departure sounded to be similar to the mornings except they had 4 fin whales

The evenings departure was charted out to a large group and with their time restriction they stayed inshore and watched a minke whale.”

Fin whale

Fin whale

harbour seals in front and greys in the back. Note the head shape difference!

Bonaparte’s gulls

pair of fin whales

Fin whale

Black guillemot

Black-legged kittiwakes. Note their mouths are open to help cool them down

Finback whale

Razorbill father and chick. When the razorbills leave the nest they leave with their fathers!

Thank You to everyone who joined us today!

Cheers,

Danielle

Minke whales and the Old Sow – July 20, 2017

Good evening everyone, thanks so much for checking in!  It’s Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine bringing you an update from the water thanks to Jolinne.

July 20th, 2017
I was told that this morning’s and afternoon’s departure they had multiple minkes whales on both departures.

This evening’s departure, we spent time searching the island to see if there were minke whales in areas we have had them in recent years. None were found, so we made our way down towards Windmill Point, Campobello Island. There was some boat traffic around the two feeding minke whales, so we stayed back and watched from a distance. With a bit of time, the boat traffic cleared and were we able to spend some time with the whales. Before leaving, Breadknife (a 3rd minke whale) surfaced near the catamaran and did a nice series of shallow dives right beside us. On our way back towards Saint Andrews we stopped in the Old Sow which was “running” pretty hard  It’s always quite impressive to watch all the water boiling and circling in the area.  It’s actually the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere.  

Bald eagle sitting below the nest

Minke swimming beside the Quoddy Link

Minke whale, Breadknife. You can see the white bands on the pectoral flippers

Harbour seals surrounding a red-headed female grey seal

The Old Sow off the Southern tip of Deer Island, NB.

Harbour seals holding on to the last bit of rock on an incoming tide!

minke whale

Thank you to everyone who joined us today!

Cheers,

Danielle

Updates for July 15th – July 19th, 2017

Good evening everyone, Danielle here with Quoddy Link Marine.  I have some updates to share with you from Jolinne.  I want to send out a huge thank you to Jolinne for continuing with the updates while I am unable to be on the water!

July 15th, 2017
We’re now doing 3 departures a day!
Morning- We were chartered this morning and took the group out for a quick nature cruise, which turned out to be a whale watch. We were able to show the passengers multiple minke whales before we had to drop them off on Campobello Island. On our way back towards Saint Andrews, some of us were able to see a young basking shark which surfaced in the middle of the Old Sow!
1:30pm – We had a regular departure and we started off with seals and then made our way to see a reported fin whale who was doing 10 minute dives (much more active than the one doing +20 minute dives). With some patience we were able to see a few series from this very slow-moving fin whale, before we left it to go find a minke whale. We didn’t have to go far until we found a minke whale off Head Harbour Light. Within no time there was a second minke and before we left the area a third was seen. It’s not often that we are so lucky as to not know which whale to focus on. There was also many harbour porpoises surfacing amongst the minke whales.
Evening- On this departure I was told that they made their way to Eastern Wolf and had really great sightings of a slow-moving, circling fin whale.

On July 16th they had minke whales on all 3 departures and also a fin whale on one of the departures.

Today July 17th, They have had minke whales on all three departures!

July 18, 2017
I was told that they had minke whales on all 3 departures.

July 19, 2017
This morning’s fog was thick and low on the water, there were reports and a few sightings of at least one minke whale in the area we were in. Passengers were able to get a glimpse of this elusive minke whale. While we were searching there were many bald eagles, both adults and juveniles were spotted.

The afternoon’s departure the fog lifted and we spent time with a few minke whales. Found a group of harbour seals on a exposed ledge and made our way to East Quoddy Head Light where there was still some fog but we were able to spend some time with “Breadknife” a minke whale.

The evening departure we made our way to East Quoddy Head Light. There was a minke whale in the area, it wasn’t easy to watch, but while we were waiting for it to surface, there was many harbour porpoises all around feeding us. We then left that minke to make our way towards Eastport and spent time with at least 3 more minke whales, before we made our way home threw the Old Sow.

Thank You to everyone who has joined us these past couple of days and thanks as always for having patience with the fog, something we have no control over but we know can be very frustrating!

Cheers,

Danielle

 

Mid-July Birding Report – July 12, 2017

Hello everyone, Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine here and I have a birding report to share from Todd!

“Things got interesting today. Seabirds suddenly became numerous in the waters between Bliss Island and Head Harbour Light. Birds seen included 500 or more Razorbills (the largest concentration I have seen), several Atlantic Puffin, several Common Murre, several Northern Gannet, one or more Greater Shearwater, one adult Laughing Gull, one Red-throated Loon in full breeding plumage, one Wilson’s Storm Petrel, the first Razorbill chicks of the season, a few dozen Bonaparte’s Gulls, 135 Black-legged Kittiwake (an average day at the colony), 1000+ Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls (a conservative estimate), numerous Black Guillemot (more numerous than usual), and more. These were all casual observations made while whale watching. Had I actually been birding, the list of species and their numbers would certainly have been higher.
A dozen or more phalaropes were reported by one of my co-workers.
Laughing Gull seem to be easier to locate this year. During the last week, I have seen immature and adult birds on several occasions. All of these sightings have been in Head Harbour Passage (from Indian Island up to the East Quoddy Light).
Cross Jellies are starting show up again along with the more common Moon Jellies and some Lion’s Manes. Three or more Fins Whales are also present, as are a few Minke Whales.
it seems that Krill have attracted many of the birds. However, some of the more interesting species were seen well before the Krill arrived. Wind direction and fog can be determining factors when trying to find some of these birds. The storm petrel that was observed was seen very near Eastport, ME which is an unusual location for this species. The individual likely got a bit lost in fog. The Laughing Gulls might have drifted in on SW winds or got lost in fog.”

Razorbills

Atlantic puffins

feeding herring gull and razorbills in the water

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chick

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemot

A big thank you to Todd for the report and Thank You to Jolinne for the images!

Cheers and thanks for checking in,

Danielle

Minkes and a finback – July 14, 2017

Hello again!!  Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine here to share some sightings brought to you from Jolinne until I am able to get back on the water.

“On this morning’s departure we potentially spent time with the most cooperative minke whale ever. This large minke whale was very slowly moving in single line, never really doing a terminal dive. While watching that individual there was lots of harbour porpoises all around and a 2nd individual was quickly seen. On our way home, we quickly stopped with a fin whale and there was a minke whale also feeding near the surface.

This afternoon we went out near Bliss Island to see if that fin whale was in the area. It wasn’t, however other boat let us know that it was heading our way. We waited around for it, it was doing very long dives (+15 minutes) and moving large distance. We did end up getting a good look at that fin whale before making our way to Head Harbour Passage to watch a minke whale.

On both departures we spent time with seals, harbour porpoises, stopped by White Horse Island to see the nesting black-legged kittiwakes (no chick were spotted, hoping that the rain we got yesterday didn’t get to them) and there is still a large number of razorbills in the area.”

Finback whale

minke whale

Seals at low tide

minke whale

Lots of razorbills around!

minke whale

Thank You to everyone who joined us today!!

Cheers,

Danielle

Fundy is Wild – July 11-13, 2017

Hello everyone, Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine here with some more updates shared by Jolinne!

Lets start with July 11th and July 12th

“The past two days have been very different out on the water.
July 11th, I wasn’t on the water but I was told that both the Catamaran and Odyssey were out searching for whales and were unable to sight any for both departures.

Today July 12th, the morning departure we spent time with seals, were able to find a minke whale, which we ended up leaving to go to White Horse Island to see the nesting black-legged kittiwakes. We then returned to the minke whale, played in the Old Sow and found a bald eagle all before returning to Saint Andrews.

The afternoon departure we quickly stopped with seals, before continuing off Bliss Island to find two feeding fin whales. We stopped at White Horse Island and noticed the first few chick of the season! On our way home we found a bald eagle and stopped with seals.

There has been so many different sea birds species sighted in the past few days; common murres, puffins, bonaparte gulls, laughing gulls, gannets, greater shearwater, phalaropes, a storm petrel. Along with the first few black-legged kittiwakes chicks on White Horse Island and at least 500 razorbills!!!”

And July 13th

“The morning departure was a little wet, however fogless. Both the Catamaran and the Odyssey went out in opposing directions searching for whales. We were unable to find any, however we did spend time with seals, harbour porpoises and found a feeding bald eagle on the shores of Campobello Island.

The afternoon departure we started off with seals and made our way to Bliss Island to see if there were any whales in the area. None was sighted, so we continued to Southern Wolf. The Odyssey found a fin whale for us. While we waited awhile for it to surface again, we did have 2 minke whales surface near us. Then we got a call from Fundy Tide Runners that the fin whale had made its way to Eastern Wolf, so off we went. With patience and time we were able to get some looks to that fin whale before retuning to Saint Andrews.”

Fin whale

The Old Sow off Deer Island Point

minke

Finback whale

check out the fish in the gulls mouth!

minke

harbour porpoise

harbour seal pup

large flock of razorbills

Seals

Atlantic puffin

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes…look at the little chick!

Thanks to everyone who has joined us the past few days!

Cheers,

Danielle

Oh, Fog…. – July 10, 2017

Good evening everyone, Danielle again here to pass along our July 10. 2017 sightings courtesy of Jolinne who is taking care of everything until I can be back out on the water!  THANK YOU Jolinne.

The morning departure started off by stopping with seals, spent time at White Horse Island with the nesting black-legged kittiwakes and then continued to Southern Wolf Island. Once near the island we had a few harbour porpoises and found a minke whale which is spent the rest of the morning with. On our return to Saint Andrews we slowed down around Bliss Island incase a fin whale was in the area, however there was no blow to be seen.

The afternoon departure we took Western Passage into the island. The past few days there were a few minke whale sightings in that area, however due to all the fog they weren’t easy to follow and we were fog-free that day. We spend a lot of time searching and circling around the island and going back and forth from Bliss Island to Campobello Island. We found multiple bald eagles, spent time with seals both at Casco Bay Island and on the reef, however no whales were sighted on this departure.

Seals off Greens Point Light

Harbour and grey seals

Minke whale off South Wolf

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemot on Whitehorse Island

Bald eagle

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island. Eagles visit the Island not to nest but to hunt on the young gulls (or even adult gulls) and this one is waiting to ambush

Thank You to everyone who joined us today!!

Cheers,

Danielle

The sightings continue to be FINtastic – July 9, 2017

Good evening everyone, here is another update from Jolinne!

“This morning we took Western Passage into the Islands, to see the Old Sow and try to give some time for the fog to potentially lift a little to give us some visibility to search. While searching, we found feeding harbour porpoises and a bald eagle, however no minke whale. At that point we made the decision and moved over to Bliss Island. There we did find a familiar fin whales who was actively feeding. Its dive times were short and the whale wasn’t traveling very far from the boat.

The afternoon departure, we went straight to Bliss Island where the fin whale was still feeding. Within no time, there was a lot of boat traffic around this whale and we left it to see if we could show the passengers a minke whale. We spotted a few minke whales around East Quoddy Head Light, we started to follow Slice (minke whale) when a 2nd one surfaced near the boat and we stayed with that whale. From there we made our way towards the reef our seals tend to enjoy and there was now two fin whales traveling side by side in the area. We spent some time with them before stopping with the seals and continuing home.”

The Old Sow

Blow of a fin whale

Finback whale

Fin whale beginning to exhale

Slice, a minke whale

Fin whale

minke whale

Fin whale

Finback whale

Thank you to everyone who joined us on these trips!  And thanks again to Jolinne for the updates and pictures,

Cheers,

Danielle

Another FINtastic day – July 8, 2017

Good evening everyone, another update shared by Jolinne for July 8, 2017, and it was another FINtastic day!

“This morning’s departure we were going to start searching at Bliss Island Light, however the fog was to thick, so we made our way down to Head Harbour Passage. We found a minke whale, had some great looks at this individual, as it would raise it’s rostrum out of the water when it surfaced. We spotted a few puffins and harbour porpoises near East Quoddy Light before returning to Bliss Island, as the fog had lifted at that point. We quickly found a fin whale, the same one from a few days ago and had some great looks before the fog shut back in.
The afternoon departure took some time before we found not one, but TWO fin whales off East Quoddy Light! The 2nd fin whale is an individual we have seen feeding in the area for the past few years and we’re excited to see it has returned.”

Finback whale

Fin whale off Bliss

Finback whale off Bliss

Atlantic puffins, always a favourite!

Seals on Black Ledge

Watching a minke from the Quoddy Link

 

Thank You to everyone who joined us and THANK YOU to Jolinne for sharing all of the sightings and the pics!Cheers,

Danielle

Early July Bird Report

Hello everyone, Todd has written up an early July bird report that I wanted to share, also some pictures from Jolinne

“The Western Hemisphere’s southernmost colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island seems to be doing well. The number of birds on the island is varying from 100 to 150 depending on how many are at sea. Last year was a good year for this colony and we are hoping to once again see good numbers of young birds fledge.

Also on or around the island are several dozen Black Guillemot, a half dozen Razorbill, an occasional Common Murre, a few non-breeding Bonaparte’s Gulls along with the more common Herring and Great Black-backed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant and Common Eider. A single Atlantic Puffin has been observed and more will almost certainly arrive as the summer progresses.

Laughing Gull have been observed near Eastport, ME as well as in Head Harbour Passage. Other uncommon or rare gulls are likely out there or will soon enter the bay.
Bald Eagle are common sightings with several pair nesting on the islands. Non-breeders are also being seen.

Common and Arctic Terns will soon begin to arrive along with Bonaparte’s Gulls, both phalaropes, tubenoses and more. Late summer and fall bring the greatest diversity of avian life to the bay.”

Adult bald eagle

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Atlantic puffins

Thanks again to Todd and Jolinne for the updates and images

Cheers,

Danielle