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Fascinating humpback social behaviors today…and more!

2019 10-04 SB Channel

Although the wind that blew all night in the far west created some moderate bumps, there was no wind and skies were sunny. It was ideal for wildlife locating and viewing. We explored a region south and east of mid-Channel with great success. 6 humpback whales and 800 long-beaked common dolphins were watched today.

South of Habitat the dolphin groups started showing up. Each group had 150-200 members and they, naturally, took turns making introductions and demonstrating their agile wave-riding skills. After some nice initial dolphin watching, more would find us throughout the day, Captain Dave moved the Condor Express further southeast.

A tight group of 4 whales comprised of 3 larger animals and 1 smaller individual we recognized as Black Rakes. Black Rakes, so named because its all-white tail has several distinct, black Orca rake patterns, has been seen around southern California since 2014. It is one of the most distinctive, thus easily recognizable, whales. This foursome appeared to be engaged in some kind of active socialization and this continued for the entire 1½ hours we observed them. There was especially a lot of chasing going on, often close to the boat (see Captain Dave’s photo). Some rolling around and “chatter” vocalizations were also common. Perhaps the most unusual observation of the group today was their mutual habit of doing a chin-slap prior to each of their dives. Wow!

Later we moved west and found more dolphins and another pair of whales. These animals appeared to be feeding subsurface, not at all demonstrating the social behavior of our earlier whales.

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

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