Sunday, April 13, 2014

White-beaked dolphins seen offshore.

April 13, 2014 

NECWA staff members Krill and Leah were working onboard Capt. John's 12 noon whale watch today. As they headed offshore, they saw big splashes off the bow. To their surprise, they found a very exuberant white-beaked dolphin who was breaching or jumping out of the water.

Unusual to see a single dolphin on its own for these animals are typically very social and travel in family groupings called pods. And why this dolphin was repeatedly breaching out of the water is still a mystery to us.

Krill counted this dolphin jumping at least 25 times in a row! What an acrobat and what a show off!

Can't wait to get offshore next weekend to see what Mother Nature has "in store" for us.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Whale Watch of the Season with Capt. John Boats

NECWA staff members Tammy and Krill had a great first trip offshore with Capt. John Boats out of Plymouth.

Trip Sightings:
  • 3 right whales
  • 2 humpback whales (Tongs and calf)
  • 50 to 60 Atlantic white-sided dolphins
  • 5 - 6 minke whales
  • 4 harbor porpoise
  • 1 gray seal
  • 13 harbor seals
Atlantic-white sided dolphins

As we headed out of Plymouth Harbor, we spotted a North Atlantic right whale skim feeding a few miles offshore. As we slowly moved away from this animal and continued northeast, we spotted an additional 2 right whales all feeding separately. Right whales are the most endangered species of baleen whales in our waters so these were sightings of a lifetime for all onboard. 

Our next sighting was a large group of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. These animals were feeding in small groups, but some came right over to our boat to ride the bow wave and the stern wake as we slowly moved through the area.

Tongs and her new calf. Mom is on the right.
As we continued offshore we saw at least 4 to 5 minke whales and a small handful of harbor porpoise. We also had distant looks at 1 harbor seal and 1 gray seal. But the best sighting of the day was a humpback mother and calf that were slowly moving east.

Tongs on the left and her new calf on the right.
As we slowly approached this pair, we were delighted to see that this was Tongs, a female humpback whale who has been seen in our area since 1989. This is the 5th calf that Tongs has brought back to our northern feeding waters.

Tongs lifting her tail (fluke) out of the water, 
Tongs and her calf didn't seem bothered by our presence and continued to slowly move to the east. It was such a joy to see this young calf who is less than 6 months old. This baby whale was born this previous winter in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The calf will stick tight to Tongs for a year before heading off on its own.

Tongs breathing at the surface with the calf to her side.  
Tongs fluking out with her calf to the left. 

As we headed home, we realized what a special trip we had. Endangered right whales and humpback whales that included a mother with her new calf of this year. 

As we retuned into Plymouth Harbor, we noticed harbor seals resting on the rocks close to the Duxbury Pier Lighthouse. Our captain was very kind to spend a few minutes watching these sleepy critters. 

A successful first trip of our 2014 season. Hope you can join Capt. John Boats sometime this season.

Friday, March 28, 2014

11the Annual Saltwater Fishing Show at the RI Convention Center

We hope you can join NECWA at the upcoming New England Saltwater Fishing Show. NECWA will have an educational booth at the show and will be chatting-up NEBShark, our community-sighting network for basking sharks and ocean sunfish.

Stop by and pick-up some neat educational material about the network and about these two large and not well understood marine fish. And see our displays which includes shark jaws and ocean sunfish bones and skin.

Join Krill, Tiffany, Tammy, Leah and Carly this weekend and enjoy the show!

Hours are:
Friday, March 28th from 12 pm - 9 pm
Saturday, March 29th from 9 am to 7 pm
Sunday, March 30th from 10 am to 5 pm

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sea Turtle Necropsies at Bridgewater State University

An amazing time at Bridgewater State University as students were able to examine and necropsy four cold-stunned sea turtles that had washed up this past winter on Cape Cod beaches.

Students who had attended NECWA's sea turtle necropsies down at WHOI were now leading them at BSU. And what a fabulous job they did. Scientists and teachers in the making!

Kicking off this event was Dawilmer Castilo who is studying sea turtles this semester. Dawilmer provided a PPT presentation on sea turtle biology, evolution, and ecology with special emphasis on cold-stunned individuals.

Then students split up and watched BSU team leaders in action. Students were able to observe necropsies on 2 Kemp's ridley sea turtles, one green sea turtle and one loggerhead sea turtle.

Students from BSU's Chordate class were invited to attend as were all interested Biology students at BSU. What an incredible experience and opportunity for these students!

A big thank you to BSU students Dawilmer, Collin, Christine, Rebecca, Carly and Sherel for leading one of 4 necropsies during this event. Also thanks to NECWA support team including Tiffany, Leah and Kyra.

Also a big thank you to Bob Prescott and his staff at Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay, for allowing Krill to take the sea turtles off-site for these examinations.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Sea Turtle Necropsies

September 25, 2014  Sea Turtle Necropsies continue

Our second Saturday of necropsies was another success. We were able to examine quite a few sea turtles as we worked together as a team. Volunteers and staff from NECWA and Mass Audubon worked together to examine close to 30 carcasses. Information from these events may help us better understand sea turtles in our New England waters.