Sightings Summary June 2019

A matriarchal pod of Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus). A calf is visible in the middle of adults and juveniles individuals.

Ola’ beautiful people, and welcome to another monthly sighting report!

During the past month we had several sightings and we encountered ten different cetacean species. But let’s see some numbers!

 

TerraAzul sightings on June 2019. Source: MONICET.

 

Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were the species most sighted. Matriarchal pods of Sperm Whales and large solitary bulls were often seen socializing and diving to feed on cephalopods, such as squids and octopus. We also have the chance to encounter several fragments of these deep Ocean inhabitants, most likely brought at the surface by Sperm Whales or Pilot Whales. In one case we even could attempt the species identification. Check our previous post here if you are interested in these mysterious and fascinating animals!

 

The tentacles of giant octopus that our crew recovered in an area where Pilot Whales were deep diving.

 

This month we could see an increase of the sighting rate for off-shore species, such as Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeuleoalba) and Pilot Whales (Globicephala spp.). Moreover, we had a breathtaking close look into the light-blue eyes of another ‘blackfish’: False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens). Have a look a this video that our guest Carola recorded just off the coast of Vila Franca do Campo!

 

 

 

In contrast, the decrease of sightings of baleen whales clearly indicates that most of these migratory species are passed through São Miguel waters and they will be back the next Spring.

 

One of the Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) that we recently spotted exhales a blow next Terra Azul boat.

 

Differently from the past month of May, Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) were present in large groups, sometimes more than hundred individual strong, and we could spot several calves.

 

Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus) calf porpoises next to its mother.

 

And for the fifth month in a row we could (double!) check our box for  ‘BEAKED WHALES’. In one case we were lucky to identify a marked female of Blainville’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris).

Finally, the arrival of the first Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis) brought us the good news that Summer is here! 😀

 

Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis).

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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