Friday, July 8, 2011

Seabird & Whale Tales

The Sunday prior to me leaving for Churchill, I went on one of the two semi annual all-day Marine Adventure cruises that the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance runs. These trips are called Seabird & Whale Tales and are a fundraiser for the alliance. The trips offer a full day a wildlife viewing and education. There are  guest naturalist onboard that help in identifying the birds, the whales and other wildlife that are observed.
The trips leave from Plymouth Harbor aboard the "Tales of the Sea", a 110 foot commercial whale-watching vessel operated by Capt. John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours.
Plymouth Beach in the fog
We started the day out in fog and and rain, the rain cleared by 10 AM, but we had intermittent fog all day long. The seas initially were 3 to 5 feet, but later in the day when up to 10 feet plus. The captain kept the ride as smooth as possible, when we had to make a turn want to hold on and there were no injuries.

Fin whale fog MSB_7234 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Fin Whale

Fin whale fog MSB_7241 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Fin Whale

Gray Seal MSB_7605 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Gray Seal

Great Shearwater MSB_7249 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Great Shearwater
Northern Gannet MSB_7577 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Northern Gannet

Sooty Shearwater MSB_7276 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Sooty Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater MSB_7279 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Sooty Shearwater
We observed fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales and both harbor and gray seals. Birds included all the shearwaters, northern gannets, many of the gulls and a South Polar Skua. I was not able to obtain a picture of the Skua since I was in the front of the boat and was hanging on during our multiple turns as the captain followed the bird so everybody could obtain a good view of it.
bo HUMPBACK TAIL bREACH MSB_7363 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Humback Tail breach
Humback  MSB_7301 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Humpback
Humback blow MSB_7319 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Humpback
Humback flike MSB_7313 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Humpback Dive

Humback fluke and fin MSB_7292 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Flipper Slap

Humpback dive MSB_7558 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Fluke
Humpback head feeding MSB_7543 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Feeding
Humpback head MSB_7486 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Head of Humpback you can see its eye
Humpback tail breach MSB_7365 NIKON D300S June 12, 2011
Tail Breach
As usual the humpback whales put on a great show with tail breaching, flipper slapping, feeding and other activities.
For those of you who are interested in the natural history of Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagon Bank Marine National Sanctuary, I would recommend that you sign up for one of the Seabird and Whale Tale trips. The next trip will be September 11. To find out more information click on the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance website http://www.necwa.org/trips.html