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Whales and Wildlife, Catamaran Style

Sightings and Updates

Fins, minkes and a bait ball – July 24-25, 2017

Good evening everyone, thank you so much for checking in!  Here is an update from Jolinne for the past few day.

July 24th, 2017
I was told that on the morning departure they went off the Wolves and had a fin whale and 3 minkes.

On both the afternoon and evening departures they had two fin whales near Bliss Island.

July 25th, 2017
The morning departure we started off with seals on the reef and then quickly made our way over to Bliss Island to watch a fin whale. From there we went to see the nesting black-legged kittiwakes on White Horse Island and did a drive by of East Quoddy Head Light on Campobello Island. We did end up finding a minke whale before spending time in the Old Sow (the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere).

The afternoon departure we made our way towards Black Harbour where other tour boats were watching a fin whale. With a bit of time we did end up watching two fin whales. These whales were slow-moving and not diving for very long and therefore pretty easy to watch. From there we once again visited White Horse Island to see some nesting seabirds. On our way home, we came across a bit of a feeding frenzy; there were 2-3 bald eagles, lots of gulls and many harbour porpoises. The porpoises were the driving force that kept the herring in a nice tight “bait ball” that the passengers were able to see from the boat.

On the evening departure we started off with seals and made our way towards a fin whale. We spent a bit of time to get some good looks before leaving to see if we could find other wildlife. We did find a bald eagle and ended up returning to the fin whale to get a few more good looks.

Herring weir not in use on Sandy Island

Molting harbour seals

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes

Big blow from a finback

Head Harbour Light on the northern tip of Campobello Island. She is getting a little make-over

L’etete Light

Harbour and grey seals

Fin whale and black guillemots (if you can see them!!)

The Old Sow off Deer Island Point

Adult bald eagle and harbour and grey seals

Fin whale

Fin whale off the fairway buoy off Bliss

Minke whale off Indian Island

Thanks again to everyone that joined us these past few days!  And thank you to Jolinne for keeping us all updated until I can be back on the water!

Cheers,

Danielle

Late-July bird report – July 23, 2017

I have a quick bird update from Todd and some images from Jolinne.

“Yesterday afternoon, we went through Western Passage and there were hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls in or near the Old Sow. Black heads were numerous as is usually the case during the month of July. There were good numbers of larger gulls in Head Harbour Passage. It would have been nice to sort through these birds looking for something uncommon or rare.

During the morning, we motored around the Wolves (a groups of islands) and observed decent sized rafts of Greater Shearwater with a few Sooty. Also present were many Wilson’s Storm Petrel. Rafts containing over 100 Red-necked Phalaropes were also observed. These birds were mostly on the outside of the islands which is typical. ”

Red-necked phalaropes

Razorbill father with chick

Black-legged kittiwakes. Their mouths are open to help control boy temperature.

Black guillemots on Whitehorse

Thanks for checking in,

Danielle

Fin whales and a Mola mola – July 23, 2017

Good evening all!  I am back again with another update from Jolinne!

“This morning’s departure we went straight off to Southern Wolf, were there were reports of a few fin whales. Once we arrived the fin whales were no longer there, however we did spend time with a minke whale. We then made our way around to the backside of the Wolves to see what was back there. We then found another minke whale and while watching it one of the fin whales surfaced near the boat. We got great looks of both the minke and fin whale. To finish off the trip Fundy Tide Runners spotted a Mola mola (ocean sunfish) just behind the boat! This is the first one of the summer. Sightings of a sunfish are rare and a great treat, especially considering it stayed near the surface and swam around both boats!

The afternoon’s departure we made our way to Eastern Wolf. We quickly spotted a minke whale and then a fin whale. By the end of the trip there were three fin whales feeding in the area. They were spread out some, however there always seemed to be one near us.”

Finback whale

Common loon

Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) off the Quoddy

Finback whale

Ocean sunfish off the Quoddy Link

Fin whale, you can see the asymmetrical colouring in the lower jaw

Fin whale

Mola mola, ocean sunfish

Ocean sunfish

Fin whale

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us today!

Cheers,

Danielle

Minkes – July 22, 2017

Good evening everyone, here is another update from Jolinne:

July 22

“This morning we made our way straight off to the Wolves Bank, however the fin whales that were there yesterday seemed to have moved on. We did end up spending time with a few feeding minke whales near Eastern Wolf.

On the afternoon departure we stayed in the Islands. We started off with a few minkes whales near Wilson’s Beach, Campobello Island, however, with all the boat traffic we kept moving on in order to keep the boat numbers to a minimum. We ended up going to see East Quoddy Head Light and doing a tour around the Owen Basin, in case the fin whales had moved into that area. There were no whales sighted, however on our way home we ended up finding a single minke and had it to ourselves. We had some great and close up looks (including seeing the minke’s mittens).

I was told that the evening departure had a few minke whales and had some great looks.”

Curious female grey seal

Fluke prints of a minke whale

Red-necked phalaropes

Minke whale approaching the Quoddy Link

minke whale

Harbour and grey seals

Thanks to everyone who joined us today and thank you for checking in!

Cheers,

Danielle

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