Observing Orcas

Day 8:  Wednesday, July 27

Today started out great because we came upon a group of 4 killer whales at 44.04N 65.08W. We attempted to photo-id them so they can be compared to other killer whales from around the world.  Killer whales in the Atlantic appear

A single killer whale, one of four sighted in the North Atlantic. (Credit: Pete Duley, NEFSC/NOAA)

to be particularly understudied, so these are important photos.  Unfortunately they did not really appreciate being photographed,  but we did our best from a distance, as you can see in these pictures taken by Pete Duley.

mother and calf killer whales

Mother orca and calf (Credit: Pete Duley, NEFSC/NOAA)

Two orcas and a petrel photographed from the Henry B. Bigelow (Credit: Pete Duley, NEFSC/NOAA)

The sighting conditions during the rest of the day went down hill after the killer whale sighting, as did our sighting rate, though we did see the usual pilot whales, Risso’s dolphins, common dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins and Cuvier’s beaked whales.  We stopped surveying at about 3:30pm due to high winds and fog,  both occurring at the same time.  Tomorrow is supposed to be better as we start surveying our most easterly shelf break transects.

Debi Palka
Chief Scientist

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