April 2014

April 02, 2014: Finally a break in the weather, but not a break in the whales! We headed up and found about 75 hungry right whales skim and subsurface feeding along with about 7 fin whales, which were also feeding. Amidst all those whales we found a very special pair – EGNO #2123 (Couplet) and her new calf, born this year. This is the first mother/calf pair we’ve recorded in the feeding grounds this year, and hopefully we will see more of them soon. Right whale calves are born in the warmer waters off the southeast US (mainly along the Georgia and the northern Florida coast) during the winter months (Dec-Mar). This year the southeast right whale teams reported 10 calves born, which is a little lower than we’d like to see, but emphasizing how important each of these newborns are to this population of just over 500 animals.

April 04, 2014: It was another successful and quite busy survey of Cape Cod Bay today. There were whales spread out all over the bay, with the majority of them sub-surface feeding. We also observed two SAGs (surface active groups), but best of all Couplet (EGNO#2123) and her calf were still in the area!

April 06, 2014: Busy day in Cape Cod Bay, with about 100 right whales sighted. While we have come to expect a busy April, we don’t usually see such a large group in the southern portions of the bay. Today, about 25 right whales were feeding in the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal in the southwest corner of the bay. Thanks to the diligence of the canal staff it prompted a closure of the canal until the whales moved away from the canal entrance. It’s great to see so many agencies working together to help protect these animals.

April 09, 2014: Today, we focused on Cape Cod Bay for our survey. The busy season is upon us, with lots of right whales scattered throughout the bay. We had half a dozen or more fin whales popping up throughout the bay as well. We detoured from our survey to look for an injured right whale, but were unable to locate it. After a brief fuel stop we were back on track to try and finish as much of the survey as possible. While reviewing images from this survey day we documented the presence of a bowhead whale in the Bay. This is only the second time in recorded history that this Artic species has been seen this far south; the first was in 2012.

April 12, 2014: Not only do we have right whales, galore, but fins, minkes, humpbacks, and dolphins decided to come into the bay as well. We have some exciting news; our second mom/calf pair (“Naevus”, EGNO# 2040) of the season, was seen traveling along the outer shore!

April 18, 2014: After a week-long break due to weather, we headed out to the bay to see who was still feeding. We found about 50 right whales scattered throughout; many were skim feeding off of Wood End in Provincetown, while a few others peppering the southern portion of the bay. We are seeing more and more skim feeding which suggests the whales are feeding on zooplankton that aggregates at the surface during the day.

April 21, 2014: As the month winds down, we are expecting to see some shifts in whale activity. As the summer approaches, the humpback whales arrive from their summer breading grounds in the Caribbean, and we are seeing more and more humpbacks with the fins and minkes mixed in. Despite the varied whale species, we didn’t really find our species of interest until the very end; just when we were about to give up, we found about 40 right whales feeding off of Sandy Neck.

April 25, 2014: The right whales are definitely on their way to “greener” pastures. We observed four right whales in the northern portion of the bay including “Naevus” (EGNO 2040) and her calf. The adults were taking advantage of the what was left of the rich food resource while the young calf stretched his/her fins and played follow the leader with another right whale. The fin whales were in abundance again throughout the bay.

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