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

Yankee Fleet (
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 12:18:15 -0400

Below is a summary of the whale sightings for the week of 19 to 25 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 dropped through the week with a high of 15
humpbacks on the 19th and 20th, falling to six individuals on the 24th of
August.  Fin whale sightings remained quite low with an average of less than
one per trip through the period.  Minke whale sightings were fairly
consistent with an average of 5 sighted during each trip. More minkes were
sighted during morning trips on most days through the period.  Pods of
Atlantic white-sided dolphins were sighted in the morning and again in the
afternoon on August 21st, with approximately 60-70 in the pod in the
morning, and 75-100 in the pod in the afternoon.  Several calves were
present in both pods.

The humpback whales were observed traveling, resting at the surface, as well
as bubble cloud feeding.  Traveling and resting behaviors were most commonly
observed.  Splashing behavior was observed frequently on the 20th and 21st,
including breaching, tail-breaching, lob-tailing and flipper slapping.
Sightings 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, several Northern gannets, two black-legged kittiwakes,
three parasitic jaegers, several phalaropes and three manx shearwaters.