Lots of whale-human mutual admiration today.

Strange humpback feeding behavior: gulping!

019 07-04 SB Channel 

Today’s count included 11 humpback whales, 500 long-beaked common dolphins, and over 300 California sea lions. It was sunny all day but that lump and bump was still dominating the outer waters, consequently Captain Colton kept it to the coastal side where life was good on this Independence Day.

The first six whales were encountered just 4 miles out from the harbor. They were mostly singletons working in an area along with lots of dolphins and sea lions. One of the whales spent a considerable amount of time mugging the Condor Express. If that was not enough, it was also exhibiting a strange “gulping” type of surface feeding: not exactly normal horizontal or vertical lunges, but more like near surface snapping.

Soon 2 additional Whales joined the fun. They, too, took to mugging the boat and did a bunch of gulping. I have no idea why so many whales were exhibiting unusual feeding today… Perhaps it has to do with the density or spacial distribution of their prey. Then again, was it really feeding we saw, or perhaps just some kind of oral hygiene process? Later Colton headed south and found three more whales, again surrounded by hundreds of dolphins.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and