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Field story 3


Not only for the whales but also for our first team with participants from France, Austria and Switzerland was it a very busy week. For up to eight hours each day we enjoyed watching seabirds, seals and whales and collected high quality data on travelling, resting, searching, deep and surface feeding minke whales.

A dozen surface feeding minkes around the boat

As usual at the beginning of the season my personal highlights were the first sightings of known minke whales like Heaps'n Heaps, Speedy, L'Onde and Perséides.

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I was especially happy to see Loca, our most amazing and inventive hunter. On several days in a row she spoiled us with head slaps, rolls and fountain blows followed by her ever-powerful ventral and lateral lunges. Finally the shot of the region became true; Loca surface feeding in front of the monumental lighthouse called La Toupie.

A curious little minke

A small minke whale heading south to a place where we later found an aggregation of 20+ whales. Quickly she gained confidence in our constant behaviour and, to our surprise, she surfaced several times just meters from us. An encounter, which none of the first team will ever forget.

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It reminded me very much of the long visit of Shawne in 2002. It was so great to see her for the first time this summer just about half an hour of the little minke's visit. Watch Shawne on video.

Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 32

Identified: Artiste, Ba_N1PL/26, Badaboum, Boomerang, Bushmills, Chap-Chap, Chiseler, Crab Claw, Daks, Daks-alike, Donna Vitale, Drapeau, Échelon, Fipple, Glenfiddich, 'Harrison', Heaps'n Heaps, Honeycomb, Itchy, Kouglof, L’Onde, Loca, Lutin, Mamillon, Man-in-the-Moon, Mûre, Ondine, Ovale, Owl Eyes, Papillon, Parus, Patapouf, Perséides, Piccola, Pompon, Puntini, Ratatouille, Senzafin, Shawne, Slash Eleven, Speedy, Stella, Stubby, Suss, Ticket Punch, Tin Whistle, Tipsy, Trident, Whalerider, Zinzin.

Other species

Finbacks: 12
Belugas: 50+
Harbour porpoise: 25+
Grey seals
Bald eagle
Loons

 

Field story 4

Since weeks now most of the whales concentrate within the triangle of the buoys K54, K55 and the lighthouse La Toupie. There are times when we drift on the mirror calm water surface with finback and minke whales breaking the surface at 360° around us. Sometimes dozens of whales concentrate within a few hundred meters. It is simply amazing.
 

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But how impressive must it be when one could watch them below the surface. Where these giants feed at depth on the same patch of prey? Diving down, chasing the fish, applying undocumented feeding manoeuvres and heading up to the surface again to breath? Try to imagine this and it really takes your breath away.
 

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Special story

This year we give a special focus to the respiration and swimming pattern of grouping minke whales. Since ten years we observe an increase of pairs and groups of three; More and more individuals get involved, groups last longer and the number of member increased from two to four.
 

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This summer as well many of the individuals who have been seen in groups continue to do so. Even more. As during four surfacing cycles Owl Eyes, Funambule, Rataouille and Witche’s Hat surfaced, swam and dove together displaying an impressive level of group coordination. This is highly unique, as minke whales are known to be solitary living animals.



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Thank you to Chloé, Gerdrude, Bärbel
and Adrian of our first team!


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 42

54 individuals identified: Artiste, Badaboum, Barbouille, Bisou, Boomerang, Bubbler, Calanus, Calvin, Chap-Chap, Chicouté, Chubby, Coin-Coin, Daks, Donna Vitale, Drapeau, Funambule, Glenfiddich, Heaps'n Heaps, Honeycomb, Kouglof, Loca, Lutin, Mamillon, Man-in-the-Moon, Nichon, Ohnifin, Ondine, Ovale, Owl Eyes, Parus, Patapouf, Picasso, Piccola, Puntini, Ratatouille, Ruiquiqui, Santafin, Scema, Senzafin, Shawne, Stubby, Suss, Three Scars, Ticket Punch, Tin Whistle, Trident, Trilignes, Whalerider, Witche's Hat, Zinzin.


Other species

Finbacks: 10+
Belugas: 150+
Harbour porpoise: 30+
Grey seals: 30+
Loons
Gannets