Sightings Summary August 2020

Hello Whale-Watchers,

As we leave another month (and Summer!) behind, it is time to wrap up what we have been sighting out there on the Atlantic Ocean 🙂

In the past August we had another example of the amazing biodiversity of our waters and we were lucky to encounter 11 different species of whales and dolphins!

 

TerraAzul sightings on August 2020. Source: MONICET.

 

Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were the most sighted species with encounters almost every day, and even a couple of large males showed off (judge yourself from the picture above!) looking for mating opportunities.

In the few occasions when the largest existing toothed whales were not in the viewing range of our lookouts, migratory baleen whales temporarily took their place. Our guests and crew had amazing time watching Sei Whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and – surprise! – Bryde’s Whales (Balaenoptera edeni) cruising near our shores and feeding off schooling fish surrounded by dolphins and sea birds.

 

 

Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) mother and calf cruising in front of Ribeira Quente, São Miguel Island.

 

Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis), and Striped Dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) were frequently sighted, both during whale-watching and research dedicated trips – you can find more information about the PhD research on Common Dolphins that we support in our post HERE!

 

Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) neonate porpoises next to its mother.

 

Atlantic Spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) travelling at high speed.

 

Larger dolphin species such as Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) were also observed, and in some cases aggregations counted more than hundred individuals. Furthermore, we had several encounters with Beaked Whales and at least three different species: Northern Bottlenose Whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus), Sowerby’s (Mesoplodon bidens) and Blainville’s Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon densirostris). In particular, the last species stayed at the surface for a relatively long time allowing our skipper to take amazing close-up pictures (see below).

 

Blainville’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) emerges showing the pronounced rim of the lower jaw typical of the species.

 

Finally, we also went bird watching with our SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) friends and our guests: the trip was successful and we encountered several Bulwer’s Petrels (Bulweria bulwerii) as well as Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis). Several transient migratory birds are passing by our island, stay tuned to the next posts to learn more about them!

 

Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii). Photo courtesy of  our guest Glenn Welch.

 

For this Sightings Summary is all, see you again for the first Autumn Report!

Lorenzo Fiori

About Lorenzo Fiori

Lorenzo is Main Guide and Technical & Scientific Director at TERRA AZUL. He is originally from Italy, holds a PhD about behavioral responses of humpback whales to swim-with-whales tourism activities in Tonga.

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