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Wed Aug 25 – Whale Watching

Wednesday August 25, 2020

Whales and dolphins! 40 minutes of inverted lob-tailing by 1 humpback

A few hours before our trip, Dr. Artie Kopelman (CRESLI president and senior scientist/naturalist) observe several humpbacks from shore at the western end of Montauk. High winds from the NNW helped us to decide to head west to look for whales. Right near Montauk Point we encountered 2 whales, a minke and a humpback. The humpback was diving for 9 minutes at a stretch, and the minke was almost impossible to see . After 3 minutes with these whale, we continued westward to find a small group of bottlenose dolphins. We ultimately turned to have the wind behind, and shortly later, we found a humpback we’d see on 8/19/2020 and 8/18/2019, namely NYC0084. In 2019, it was breaching, today (8/25/2020), it was lob-tailing for at least 40 minutes, almost non-stop.
Lob-tailing, breaching, flipper slapping are incredible to see and hear. These behaviors use up lots of energy. Why do humpbacks exhibit these behaviors? Well, they serve many purposes, from helping to remove epibionts (“hitch-hiking organisms living on the skin), to non-vocal communication. Cetaceans are dependent upon sound for communication of long and short distances. This whale might have been signaling others about the massive quantities of prey in the water column.  Let’s hope so.

  • 2 humpbacks
  • 1 minke
  • 15 inshore bottlenose
  • 1 Great Shearwater
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater
  • 2 Cory’s Shearwaters

PHOTOS from the 8/25/2020 trip available here

Image may contain: ocean, outdoor and water
Image may contain: ocean, water, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor, text that says '© Dr. Artie Kopelman for CRESLI'
Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor, text that says '© Dr. Artie Kopelman for CRESLI'