Before to move into our well-deserved Summer, it is time to recap what we have been encountering during the past Spring in São Miguel water. Fourteen (14!!!) different species of whales & dolphins were sighted, including the four largest species of animals currently existing on this planet! But lets go through some numbers 😉
Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus) was the most sighted baleen whale species during the past Spring (April-May) with 13 encounters, followed by Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus) with 11 encounters. Check out the amazing moment when a Blue Whale dives captured in slow motion by our Skipper HERE! Sei Whales (Balaenoptera borealis) confirmed their tendency to arrive later in the season and were first sighted at the end of May. Most of the encounters were with multiple individuals Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) returned to be a quite elusive species in our waters in contrast with the growing number of sightings registered in 2019/2020.
Spring months registered a great number of animals close to our shores and when baleen whales were not in range of our operations, Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) did not disappoint us! Have a look at the sighting map below to have an idea of what I mean 😉
Well, this is how 70 SIGHTINGS of Sperm Whales look like!
Also ‘Black Fish’ hunters were not left empty handed during Spring 2021. A Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) family decided to stick around São Miguel for about one month and we managed to encounter them 5 times. Pilot Whales (Globicephala spp.) started to appear quite regularly, especially towards the end of the Spring, while False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) were spotted once.
Blainville’s Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) made a couple of brief appearances, confirming their presence in the waters South of Vila Franca do Campo.
Furthermore, this year we registered an early return of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis)in May and 14 sightings of Striped Dolphins (Stenella coerulealba) so far. As in previous seasons, Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) were the most sighted dolphin species [65 encounters], followed by Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) [49 encounters] and Risso’s Dolphins [22 encounters].
Finally, we happily witnessed the Summer return of our favorite pelagic bird: the Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) and we even got a lucky encounter with a pole-to-pole migratory seabird species, the Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudis)!
That’s all for the past incredible Spring, lets catch up at the next Sighting Report! 🙂