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Humpback Whale Lunge Feeding

Humpback Whales Lunge Feeding

A spectacular, sunny. last day of Summer out on the northeastern Channel today. After spending a great half hour with at least 800 common dolphins, many with calves, some big spouts were seen about a mile away with very clear whale-spotting visibility. As we headed for what turned out to be two giant adult humpback whales, we passed several Minke whales cruising through the area. Once in humpbackland the show started. There was a giant bait ball with all sorts of birds (shearwaters, pelicans, western gulls, elegant terns) and more common dolphins all roiling the water. This hot spot of activity soon erupted as the two adult humpback whales broke the surface, mouths wide open, and anchovies leaping all over the place. This synchronized surface feeding by the two knobby-headed beasts continued for over an hour, and each time the whales lunged, the seabirds followed them around like fleas on a German shepherd. One of the two humpbacks was “Chomper,” the whale that snaps its mouth open and shut in mid air, as if it is cleaning off its baleen or some other explanation known only to this cetacean. We’ve never seen any other whale do this. Again and again the two blasted through the bait ball sending seabirds scattering across the water. All during the show, many more Minke whales cruised by, and in fact one of them came near the boat and swam under us which you could plainly see in the clear blue water. After the dining experience ended we found another big adult humpback and watched it swim and spout and fluke up for a while. At the end we tallied up at least 8 Minke whales (probably more like 12), three humpback whales and over 800 common dolphins.

It was a spectacular day and it will take me a while to process all the photos. I’ll post them up during the week at our photo site

Wish you were here… Bob “lucky guy” Perry Condor Express

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