Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Whale Watching trip on May 6, 2014

We joined Capt. John Boats out of Plymouth for a whale watch today. This highlight of the show was a cluster of whales, seabirds and seals that were aggressively feeding off Peaked Hill Bar.

The star of the shows was a humpback whale named Amulet. Amulet was using her tail to stun the bait before lunging mouth open through water and bait fish. It was to see such activity. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wonderful, beautiful humpback calf.

Milkweed and her calf. 
On Sunday's whale watch aboard the Tails of the Sea, Captain John Boats, we had an amazing look at a very special calf. This was Milkweed's calf and this calf was very playful and curious.

Hancock and Milkweed surface feeding. 
Milkweed and Hancock were feeding together on baitfish. They were using bubble nets to help them concentrate the bait before lunging mouth open through the water and fish. Hancock was really putting on a show as she opened her mouth as wide as can be!

Hancock bubble net feeding.
Since the calf is getting its nutrition from mom, it was hanging close to mom's side watching and sticking to her like glue. Once the calf came over to our boat to look us over. What an amazing experience to be eye-to-eye with a baby humpback whale.

I see you!
As the calf swam next to mom's side, it was rolling over and on top of Milkweed. I don't know how mom was able to chase the baitfish with the calf being right on top of her!

Hancock's calf lobtailing with dolphins. 
As we started to head home, the calf got even more active by lobtailing and tail breaching, as if to say goodbye to us! These once in a lifetime experiences remind us how fragile the oceans are and how dependent their inhabitants are on a clean and healthy environment. If the health of the oceans declines, then the population of bait fish that the whales feed on will decline as well. No fish, no whales. It is as simple as that.

Milkweed's calf checking us out!
So help NECWA protect this little one and keep her from harm's way. Become a member of NECWA and go to our website at www.necwa.org to make a donation. Help us do the work we do on behalf of all marine wildlife. NECWA is a volunteer nonprofit so all donations go back into the work we do.

Hancock lunging through the bait fish. 
Milkweed's calf represents the future hope for humpback whales in our New England waters. What a character this baby is and what a joy she is to watch and admire.

Milkweed and her calf. 
To be honest, it is easy to see that Milkweed has her hands full with this exuberant child. But I can't wait to see her again!

Mom and calf. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

ATP Research Symposium at Bridgewater State University

ATP Research Symposium - April 28, 2014 at Moakley at Bridgewater State University. 

Dawilmer talking with another students about his research poster. 
Mani with her poster on dolphins and porpoises off Cape Cod. 
This past Monday, Biology students at Bridgewater State University presented their research at the annual ATP Research Symposium. Each poster presentation was a culmination of their activities conducted over the course of the semester under the guidance of Professor Krill Carson and Dr. John Jahoda.

Data used in these research projects was collected by NECWA staff and interns working on beaches as well as on boats offshore. NECWA also collaborates with a number of local businesses and organizations in southeaster MA, including Captain John Boats and Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay. Much of the data collected offshore is accomplished through NECWA's Internship Program established with Captain John Boats.

Christine and her poster on aging in ocean sunfish. 
Three different projects on marine wildlife were highlighted during this symposium. Christine Fallon was continuing her work on aging and growth in ocean sunfish. Dawilmer Castillo presented on cold-stunning in sea turtles in the New England area. And Manpreet Kaur investigated the occurrence and distribution of toothed whales (dolphins and porpoises) in the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Christine talking with BSU students about her ocean sunfish research. 
Data collected on stranded ocean sunfish was obtained from NECWA's research and rescue project of ocean sunfish strandings on Cape Cod. The New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Project (NEBShark) is a community-sighting network for both live and stranded ocean sunfish. Check it out at www.nebshark.org.

Dawilmer explaining his research on cold-stunned sea turtles. 
And information from Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay was used to provide an overview on cold-stunning in sea turtles. Cold-stunning is a hypothermic reaction experienced by sea turtles exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. These individuals became trapped in the arm of Cape Cod as they migrate south. Unable to function, they strand live or dead on the shores of the Cape in the fall and early winter.
Mani who is studying toothed whales off Cape Cod. 
And data used to investigate the occurrence and distribution of toothed whales (dolphins and porpoises) in the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary was collected by NECWA staff and interns aboard Capt. John Boats. Mani used this data to learn what species utilize these waters and during what seasons. Mani is also learning how to plot this sighting data using ArcView and Google Earth.

Mani with her poster on toothed whales. 
Seeing NECWA's data being used for education, research and conservation makes us feel good about the work we do on behalf of coastal marine wildlife in the New England area. And we love working with these young professionals who are passionate and enthusiastic about the animals that they study and the research they are involved with.

Dawilmer in action!
To learn more about NECWA go to our website at www.necwa.org and our sighting network at www.nebshark.org. And donate today if you want to help support our activities like this research symposium. NECWA is a volunteer nonprofit for all donations go directly to the projects that we oversee.