A subadult Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) slowly cruises along the South Coast of São Miguel Island.
Bom dia Whale-Watchers and Benvindos in twenty-twenty!
This new year has started really well in terms of cetacean sightings in the waters of Vila Franca do Campo. We encountered seven different species of whales and dolphins, and – surprise – several migratory ones that were not really expected in this time of the year!
Large aggregations of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) were sighted during all the trips, mainly foraging on mackerels (Scombrus spp.) together with Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahellis) and a few Cory’s Shearweaters (Calonectris borealis). In one occasion, a large school of Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) joined the feeding frenzy right next to us! We also had encounters with Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), our largest ‘resident’ species of dolphin.
Turning to whales, we could spend some time with a matriarchal pod of Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus), including two calves accompanied by their mothers, just off the coast of Povoação. In addition, also this month we had a good encounter with a Blainville’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), this time a single adult male, not too far from the shore of Vila Franca do Campo.
However, 2020 surprise was an unusual sighting rate of baleen whales in winter time: a Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) was the first whale spotted this year, followed by at least 4 subadult Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and even a Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) appeared in our waters. One day we could have a look at all these three species in a single morning tour!
Finally, we encountered several juveniles of Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) and one of them had also a fish as travelling companion!
Hoping for some good weather in February and to the next sighting report! 🙂