Whales and dolphins aplenty

Nineteen North Atlantic right whales were sighted during the May 12 aerial survey of Howell Swell. Thirteen of the whales were seen subfeeding and their position relayed to  the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, which is conducting the annual right whale survey and biology cruise in the Gulf of Maine. The group included 1 tagged whale. The other six whales were subfeeding and breaching.  Howell Swell is an undersea feature east of Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine.


A right whale feeding, taken May 12 during a survey of Howell Swell. Images collected under MMPA research permit #17355. Photo credit: Tim Cole, NEFSC/NOAA

The three and a half-hour survey flight also observed 2 sei whales, 132 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 35 harbor porpoise, and 16 basking sharks.

May 11 was another beautiful spring day. The NOAA Twin Otter with the NEFSC aerial survey team aboard flew in Howell Swell again and sighted 14 right whales, 13 of them subsurface feeding. Their positions were related to the Gordon Gunter.

During the more than five-hour survey the team also observed 3 sei whales, 137 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 25 harbor porpoise and 11 basking sharks.


A view of part of the Cape Cod National Seashore near the tip of Cape Cod from the Twin Otter on May 10. Photo by Christin Khan, NEFSC/NOAA.

Beautiful spring weather provided excellent flying conditions for the May 10 survey of Jeffreys Ledge and Wildcat Knoll in the Gulf of Maine. The more than five-hour flight observed 21 humpback whales, 13 fin whales, 17 sei whales, 3 minke whales, 2,782 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 2 harbor porpoise and 1 basking shark.  No North Atlantic right whales were observed.


The NEFSC Aerial Survey Group


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