Sightings Summary August 2019

A pod of Sowerby’s Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon bidens) travels next to Terra Azul boat. Five individuals are visible at the surface, including a young one. Picture credit: Paulina Kalita.

 

Ola’ beautiful Ocean people!

Another month has come to its end in São Miguel Island and it is time for our monthly report of  cetacean sightings!

Despite some unusual weather instability, we managed to get out at sea almost every day and see plenty of sea life. Also this month, Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were the most sighted, followed by a migratory species that visit our islands in summer: Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis).

 

TerraAzul sightings on August 2019. Source: MONICET.

 

A young Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis) rides the wake of Terra Azul boat. Photo credits: Lieven Joos.

 

In August we have had also a quite high number of Beaked Whales sightings (fourteen!) and we could identify four of the six species that can be seen in the Azores Archipelago: Sowerby’s (Mesoplodon bidens), Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris), Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris) and Northern Bottlenose Whales (Hyperodon ampullatus).

 

Cuvier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris) can reach 7 metres in length. Like Mesoplodon species, only males have a couple of tusks erupting from the tip of the lower jaw. Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals IIIrd Ed. Bernd Würsig, I. G. M. Thewissen & KIT M. Kovacs.

 

Northern Bottlenose  Whales (Hyperodon ampullatus) is the largest species of beaked whale that can be spotted in the Azores. Adult males can reach up to 9 meters in lenght. Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals IIIrd Ed. Bernd Würsig, I. G. M. Thewissen & KIT M. Kovacs.

 

The past month our guest and crew could also encounter a couple of unexpected Sei Whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and a large group of Pilot Whales (Globicephala spp.).

 

A juvenile Sei Whales (Balaenoptera borealis) blows next to Terra Azul boat.

 

Finally, we had the chance to encounter several species of ‘resident’ and ‘offshore’ Delphinids: Common (Delphinus delphis), Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus), Risso’s (Grampus griseus) and Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba).

 

Adult Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) have a look at our crew and guests while cruising not far from the shores of Praia da Mora, São Miguel Island.

 

Autumn is about to arrive in Azores and we look forward to seeing what species will bring in our waters! 🙂

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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