January 2014

January 05, 2014: The CCS Aerial Survey team took their first flight of the New Year on Sunday taking off out of Chatham Airport. The survey of Cape Cod Bay was conducted in a south to north direction under overcast skies. The first right whale sited was a lone individual, followed soon after by a pair which were sub-surface feeding. The final sighting of the day was a group of nine right whales shallow sub-surface feeding just off Long Point outside of Provincetown Harbor. This produced great results for our very first flight of the 2014 season.

January 10, 2014: Under gray skies, the CCS Aerial Survey team departed Chatham airport mid-morning in an attempt to survey Cape Cod Bay before the next winter storm came through. At first, the right whales appeared to have departed. As the plane surveyed up the eastern outer shore and around the Cape’s bend, splashes were seen in the frigid waters, which turned out to be one fin whale and one minke whale.  Fortunately, farther south in the bay two unidentified species of dolphins were sighted and then two right whales in a were observed in a Surface Active Group (SAG).  The team concluded the second Cape Cod Bay survey as the skies opened up with rays of sun, before the deluge of the next storm was upon us.

January 16, 2014: The aerial team headed up through Cape Cod Bay to get to the starting point for the Eastern Outer Shore survey. This survey area is typically done about once a month and extends about 30 miles east of Cape Cod. Just crossing over the Bay that morning we found two right whales (Haley and Legs) subsurface feeding, and just a few miles out from the official start of our first trackline we found Fiddle displaying SAG behaviors with whale number 1990, who we have only seen once before, in 2005. On the official “backside” survey we found Catspaw, who had a calf last year, as well as a fin whale, two humpbacks, some seals and some dolphins. Ultimately, the fog crept in too tight, and we had to abort early.

January 17, 2014: After waiting for the fog bank to burn off, the CCS Aerial Survey team completed a Cape Cod Bay survey. The right whales once again made an appearance, with more than 14 right whales observed. The majority of whales were seen in the central portion of Cape Cod Bay, with behaviors ranging from a Surface Active Group (SAG), to subsurface feeding and milling. One lone unidentified species of dolphin was also observed.