Subject: Summary: Center for Oceanic Research and Education week of

Yankee Fleet (
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 17:38:06 -0400

Below is a summary of the whale sightings for the week of 22-28 July 1996 by
researchers from the Center for Oceanic Research and Education aboard
commercial whale watching vessels out of the Yankee Fleet in Gloucester
Massachusetts.  Our study area includes areas of Southern to mid-Jeffrey's
Ledge and Northern to mid-Stellwagen Bank.

Sightings of humpback whales remained quite high with an average of 15
through the period, while fin whale sightings remained quite low with an
average of only 1 per trip.  Minke whale sightings were up and down with a
high of 16 on one trip and a low on many other trips of zero.  A pod of
Atlantic white-sided dolphins were sighted during the morning of July 22nd,
an estimated 10-15 were in this pod.  One calf was in the group.  The
afternoon of July 22nd, a small pod of pilot whales were also observed only
7 miles from Gloucester harbor.

The humpback whales were observed resting at the surface, as well as bubble
cloud feeding for extended periods.  The whales moved around a lot this week
"bouncing" around the northern end of Stellwagen Bank from the Eastern to
Western sides.  Immense schools of American Sand Lance were clearly visible
where the whales were feeding. Four new mother calf humpback pair were also
observed, bringing the total up to 13 so far this season.  One mother/calf
fin whale pair were also sighted this week.

Birds sighted during the week were herring gulls, greater black-backed
gulls, ring-billed gulls, laughing gulls, common terns, greater shearwaters,
sooty shearwaters, Wilson's storm petrels, and several Northern gannets and
7 manx shearwaters.  Several basking sharks were also observed during this
period as well as one ocean sunfish.