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Bait ball on the surface !

A massive bait ball is discovered by two large and hungry humpback whales in the northeastern Santa Barbara Channel.

Bait ball on the surface !

A trip to the northeastern Santa Barbara Channel under clear sunny skies, clear blue water, and very flat sea conditions, results in a great abundance of marine mammals.  Long beaked common dolphins were everywhere, perhaps 2,500 total.  The clear water gave great looks at the agility and socializing of this marvelous species. Perhaps someday there will be a technology that enables us to identify individual common dolphins and their pods.  Now THAT would be a game changer!  Way out to nearly mid-Channel we located a large bait ball on the surface.   California sea lions were attacking from below and sent waves of northern anchovies leaping out of the surface.  Black vented shearwaters made continuous dives into the massive school, and elegant terns squawk and then dove into the caldron. Not far from the bait ball we found tall spouts.  It turned out to be one large and one even larger humpback whale.  The two were separated by more than a half mile before they came together and quickly got on the same breathing cycle.  It was not long before the two, working side by side, found the bait ball and lunged dramatically straight up and down….surface lunge feeding !  Both whales showed their flukes regularly and their down times averaged only 5 minutes.   The Velella velella population continues to be large, for those of you who have been following it.   It was a “national geographic” kind of day.  I’ll post up today’s photographs asap.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express

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