Hello everybody, the longest February is over and it is time to sum up what we encountered in the waters of São Miguel Island. Luckily the weather gave us several chances to go out at sea and we had twenty-one encounters with cetaceans.
Similarly to January, the most sighted species was the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis). Groups of 20-40 individuals were generally feeding in association with tunas (Thunnus spp.) and Yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis). Some mating pods were also observed and we even managed to film some mating attempts with our drone! Check the video HERE!
A Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) was sighted in a pod of Common Dolphins and it was the first individual of the species encountered this year. Such associations between the two species are not unusual in Azores. In another occasion, we spotted a Common Dolphin with a different coloration that could be the result of hybridization or a variation of pigmentation.
Turning to whale species, our waters have been visited by seven different individuals of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), including a mother-calf pair. Although it is still early for the annual baleen whale migration, it is not so uncommon to have some of these animals passing through the Azores Archipelago in February. One individual was quite particular and presented an anomalous coloration. You can observe it also in our drone video HERE!
Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) were encountered four times and we can confirm the return of Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) to São Miguel Island. One of the rafts also contained a Barolo Shearwater (Puffinus baroli) and we got visited by some juveniles Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa trydactila).
Spring is arriving and we cannot wait to see what it will bring us! 🙂