Dolphins dominate sightings

After some down time for routine aircraft servicing, members of the NEFSC aerial  team were back in the air in the NOAA Twin Otter July 18 and 19 surveying Georges Basin and Roseway Basin in the Gulf of Maine.

The team saw 1 humpback whale, 1 sperm whale, 4 sei whales, 4 minke whales, 2 pilot whales, 193 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 1 harbor porpoise, 7 basking sharks, and 14 ocean sunfish in Georges Basin on July 18.  Four North Atlantic right whales were also observed during the flight.

right whale

Senator, an adult male right whale (EGNO 1203), was sighted by the NEFSC aerial team on July 19.  His health is being monitored by the New England Aquarium after he was sighted in March 2014  with new injuries consistent with entanglement,  although no gear was present. Photo by Tim Cole, NEFSC/NOAA. Images collected under MMPA Research Permit Number 1058-1733-01

After refueling at Yarmouth Airfield in  Nova Scotia, the team surveyed Roseway Basin on July 19. Two right whales were observed during the five hour, 30-minute flight in the area, as along 4 humpback whales, 13 fin whales, 1 sei whale, 6 minke whales, 1 killer whale, 2 common dolphins, 12 white-beaked dolphins, 12 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 32 harbor porpoise, 12 basking sharks, and 61 ocean sunfish.

IMG_0340 cr

A small pod of Atlantic white-beaked dolphins. The species is not seen very often in the NEFSC’s usual survey areas. Photo by Heather Nicotri, NEFSC/NOAA. Images collected under MMPA Research permit number 1058-1733-01


With limited daylight remaining, the team flew for another 90 minutes on the Scotian Shelf Edge West, where they observed 1 humpback whale, 5 fin whales, 40 pilot whales, 790 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, and 34 ocean sunfish.  No right whales were sighted.

NEFSC Aerial Survey Team

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