May Sighting Summary 2018

Here we are with our monthly summary!

Last May was really interesting with 13 cetaceans species plus the “ever present” loggerhead turtle. During this month we transitioned from the seasonal baleen whales to the more reliable resident species.

The baleen whales were represented by five different species, from the largest blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) to the small minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and all the sizes in between, fin (Balaenoptera phyalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis). Fin whales were without a doubt the most observed.

Sightings frequency during May 2018


The dolphin family was represented by our “local” Risso’s (Grampus griseus), common (Delphinus delphis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), but also by the less predictable striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and the “surprise species” false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) and orca (Orcinus orca)… yes these latter are actually dolphins, large dolphins!

Killer whale (Orcinus orca)


Towards the end of the month sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were started to be seen more frequently. Despite being a resident species, in fact, their occurrence seems to be reduced during the winter and early spring.  The elusive beaked whales were also spotted, but this time they decided to grant us the chance of identifying them. Approaching the boat and hanging around for sometime allowed us to confirm they were Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris).

The loggerhead turtles were seen with a certain frequency, however, they could not be tagged as they kept diving all the times and to avoid further stress we didn’t insist. Let see if during the upcoming month they will be more collaborative 😉


Arianna Cecchetti

About Arianna Cecchetti

Arianna is a Marine Biologist and Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2009. Originally from Italy, she sees herself more as a world citizen. After a four years break for a Postgraduate course in the Azores Islands, she's back to enjoy guiding and collecting data for MONICET – The Azores Islands Cetaceans Research & Conservation long-term monitoring project.

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