WhaleNet Reports
"Bubba"
Hooded Seal

Harbor Seal

Satellite Tagging Observation Reports

by
Greg Early
Edgerton Research Laboratory
New England Aquarium


Name- "Bubba"
Seal Tag

I may not be able to get to the numbers today as I just heard there are some lags on the beach on the Cape, so I may be off in that direction today.

3/30/00 - Locations for "Bubba". It appears that over the last 24 hours "Bubba" has begun to move to the east and a bit south. Today he appears to be about 50-60 miles from his location the day before. At this rate, and going in this direction he should be leaving (finally) the Gulf of Maine in the next day or so. He is still quite a distance away from where hooded seals should be at this time of the year (the closest area would be the Gulf of St. Lawrence). 3/28/00 - Location data for yesterday and today have "Bubba" remaining in the same general area. Not as many messages today.

Weather Data comes from the National Data Buoy Center (at : http://seaboard.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.phtml?$station=44005). Check the web site to see how the wave height has changed dramatically in the last 24 hours...

3/27/00 - Well...this was exciting...

When last we left "Bubba" it appeared that he may have hauled out of the water along the coast of Maine (near Tennant's Harbor to be exact). Our last transmission was at roughly 8:00PM (EST)on the 23rd. From the number of messages sent for that "fix' it appeared that "Bubba" was out of the water (with the transmitter sending signals constantly). The transmitter is programmed to shut down shortly after this time, but did not turn on again as scheduled. This was probably, because the tag had been out of the water long enough (6 hours) to shut down the power (the tag is programmed to shut itself down when out of the water for longer than 6 hours to save battery power). We did not receive transmissions from the tag until roughly 24 hours later (at about 9:00 PM(EST) on the 24th). By this time he had been in the water for some time, as the location was several miles offshore. Over the weekend "Bubba" continued to head offshore and now is once again circling in one of the three locations where he has spent most of his time (this location is farthest offshore ...roughly 80 miles from his release point).

So far "Bubba" has proven to be quite unpredictable...so from here...your guess is as good as mine...

3/23/00 - Looks like "Bubba" may be headed back near shore yet again. This time he appears to be getting close to the coast of Maine (between Port Clyde and Spruce Head). We will have to see where he heads from here.

3/21/00 - Today's locations return "Bubba" to the same general area where he has spent the most time so far. Over the past three days he has moved roughly fifteen miles east, and is now over the small (10 sq mile) area that he has spent the greatest amount of time since his release. This continues to be strange, as no other hooded seal we have tracked so far has spent this much time in the Gulf of Maine. No other hooded seal has shown so much concentrated activity in such small areas.

Note that several of these have higher "LC" classes. This is because they are based on more "hits" from the transmitter. This may indicate that "Bubba" has been spending longer periods of time at the surface...

Curiouser and curiouser,

3/20/00 - Locations for "Bubba" from this weekend. Despite some nasty weather, transmissions have held up quite well. "Bubba" appears to be holding in roughly the same location since early Friday. This is roughly 35 miles east of his release point. This location was the first area he "stopped" at after his release.

We continue to get roughly ten locations per day (we have been tracking for 48 days and have just under 450 locations so far...)

3/19/00 - Bubba is now about 30 miles offshore of his release point.......

3/16/00 - He's back!!!...sort of...After a week or so traveling into the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, "Bubba" is back within roughly five miles of where he started. These locations put him near the same location he has spent most of his time since release (roughly 60 miles offshore, east of his release point in Southern Maine). The locations we have gotten over the past few days are again clustering and moving slowly to the east. So, it appears that , for now at least, that he is staying close to this location.

3/14/00 - Well, life is getting interesting. "Bubba" appears to be heading closer to the Maine coast and is about 30 miles offshore between Camden and Bar Harbor. He is close to the area (about 10 miles away) that he was in roughly two weeks ago.

3/13/00 - Locations for "Bubba" from this past weekend (3/11-12). These locations show "Bubba" retracing his path, back towards the south. He is in almost the same location as he was ten days ago, and appears to be continuing south into the southern part of the Gulf of Maine. curiouser and curiouser...

3/10/00 - Locations from last night show "Bubba" still heading south. He has returned to roughly the same location that he passed one week ago.

3/9/00 - The latest locations show "Bubba" again moving south nearly along his northerly track from a week ago. He appears to be roughly in the middle of the Bay of Fundy, now about 25 miles off of the coast of Maine. We will see what happens in the next few days (right turn, heads toward the coast of Maine, left turn, heads around Nova Scotia, straight ahead will put him roughly back where he started a little over a week ago).

3/8/00 - He's off...sort of (part II)

After apparently spending about one day (3/6) near or on shore near Saint John, New Brunswick, "Bubba" appears to have headed east across the Bay of Fundy on 3/7 and as of roughly 6PM EST was near the west coast of Nova Scotia.

This is not the first time we have tracked a hooded seal that appeared to make a side trip up into the Bay of Fundy (see "PoeGo" in Archives). Hopefully we will be able to tell tomorrow if he continues deeper into the Bay (not a good choice I would think) or heads around the southern end of Nova Scotia.

Keep your fingers crossed.

3/7/00 - New locations for "Bubba". As you can see he as not moved much from his location on (or near) shore near Saint John, New Brunswick. The last locations are from a roughly five mile area, that he appears to be moving around in. From the data we have received, it appears that he has spent at least some time on shore. We will (hopefully) see tomorrow it things change.

3/6/00 - He's off...sort of... After staying in nearly the same location for nearly a month, it appears that "Bubba" decided to make a move. Over the weekend, he headed almost straight north into the Bay of Fundy. My most recent position places him near or on the coast of New Brunswick just south of Saint Johns (this is a distance of roughly 180 miles from his location on Thursday/Friday). If you look closely at the data you will see that the last few data points have higher "LCs", because of te increase in messages received by the satellite. This may indicate that "Bubba" is either spending more time at the surface, in the shallow water near shore, or has hauled out. Hopefully tomorrow's data will tell us if he is continuing to move or has stopped on shore.

3/3/00 - Well it appears that "Bubba" may be on the move. The most recent locations appear to show him moving to the north (roughly twenty miles from his location a day ago). He appears to be moving over roughly the same depth of water as he has been near for the past few weeks. As of this weekend we will have been tracking him for about one month and have received over two hundred and fifty location "fixes" to create his track.

3/1/00 - More locations... It appears that "Bubba" has, once again settled into an area roughly 20 miles east of his previous location. This is interesting as the depth profile of this new location is similar to the one that he just left. Hopefully we will get to see what he will do from here. Keep in mind, that most mature hoods would be heading towards ice edges for breeding around mid march to april. So far "Bubba" does not appear to be heading north in any great hurry.


Reports:February


Bubba 1
  • "Bubba" Satellite Chart A
    Closer view of release.
  • Bubba and..
    (Click on an image to enlarge)


    More seal data is available in the current WhaleNet Listserv. Sort and go to FIND for "Seal Data", "Bubba" entries.
    Map of "Bubba's" travels.

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