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

Yankee Fleet (
Fri, 9 Aug 1996 16:32:32 -0400

Below is a summary of the whale sightings for the week of 29 July to 04
August, 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 on days without dense fog
with an average of 24 through the period.  On days with fog, sightings
severely dropped off with an average of 4 humpbacks.  Fin whale sightings
remained quite low with an average of less than 1 per trip through the
period.  Minke whale sightings were fairly consistent with a range of 2 to 7
sighted during each trip.  

The humpback whales were observed traveling, resting at the surface, as well
as bubble cloud feeding for extended periods.  Feeding behavior was the most
commonly sighted behavior.  When mothers and calves were sighted, the calves
were not feeding, but instead were either resting or engaged in splashing
behaviors including breaching, flipper slapping and rolling at the surface.
The whales were consistently on the northern end of Stellwagen Bank.  

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 only a couple Northern
gannets.  Several basking sharks were also observed during this period.