Sightings Summary April 2019

A mother Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) with her calf slowly cruises a couple of nautical miles out off Ribeira Quente, São Miguel Island. Our first Blue of the year came with her calf, hopefully it is a good sign for the recovery of this endangered species in the Atlantic Ocean 🙂

What a month on the water here in São Miguel!!! Here is a perfect example of the biodiversity of cetacean species that visit the Azores Archipelago!

 

TerraAzul sightings on April 2019. Source: MONICET.

 

As for the previous months, Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) were the most sighted species, followed by another “resident” of our waters, the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). We observed again large aggregations, more than hundred individual strong, and smaller groups, most likely bachelor pods of juvenile males. Nursery groups were also abundant for both dolphin species and we spotted many calves, sometime less than one month old!

To complete the “resident” species party, we encountered a Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) pod and massive solitary bull, maybe looking for some occasions to mate.

The large solitary Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) stretches its body next Terra Azul boat…

…and flukes up for a deep dive, maybe in search of food! Photo Credit: Anais Builly.

 

We had a couple of short encounters with a small group of Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon spp.) but sea conditions did not help to spot these elusive cetaceans.

Off-shore species such as False killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeruleaoalba) made us a surprising appearance too, reminding us how unpredictable is what you can encounter in the open Ocean. If you wish to have more information about these occasionally seen species check our previous posts about False Killer Whales and Striped Dolphins

 

The pod of about twenty False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) sighted by Terra Azul ten nautical miles off Agua d’Alto, São Miguel Island.

 

Finally, we can say it: Spring is here and so are our migratory baleen visitors!!! After the vanguard of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), we started spotting rorquals almost every day. Check our last post about this amazing migration here !

Good news is that they did not come alone, but often with their young calves following! In this beginning of migratory season we already encountered two Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and a Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) big mamas 🙂

 

One of the Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) females encountered with their calves off Ponta Garça, São Miguel.

 

Stay tuned to discover what the Ocean is planning for us in May!!!

Lorenzo Fiori

About Lorenzo Fiori

Lorenzo is Main Guide, Technical and Scientific Director at Terra Azul. He is originally from Italy and holds a Master in Science in Marine Biology. Currently, he is completing his PhD on the the behavioral responses of humpback whales to swim-with-whales tourism activities in Tonga.

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