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

Yankee Fleet (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 14:31:25 -0400

Below is a summary of the whale sightings for the week of 05 to 11 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 20 through the period.  On days with fog, sightings
severely dropped off with an average of 7 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 an average of 5
sighted during each trip. One small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins
were also sighted on August 5th, with one calf in the pod.  

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.  There was much splashing behavior this week, as
well, with higher than average observations of breaching, flipper slapping,
lob-tailing and tail breaching from several adult humpback whales. 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 and 4 parasitic jaegers.  Several basking sharks were also observed
during this period.