Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birds, Whales and Fog...

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link writing to you on my day off. The past few days we have seen more fog but with some localized clearing and patience and persistence we have found whales on all of our departures. Yesterday we had a bit more visibility and we able to find finback whales on all 3 trips. Below is a photo of one of the 3 finback whales we saw yesterday.
The bird life has really picked up over the last week. We have seen more Bonaparte's gulls, kittiwakes, gannets and we are also starting to see large groups of young red-necked phalaropes.

On Sunday we saw some of the largest numbers of grey seals hauled out on Casco Bay Island of the summer. I counted more than 40 grey seals, below is one of the photos I took....the seal in the middle looks quite relaxed!

Thanks for checking in and keep checking back for more sightings with Quoddy! Don't forget to make a reservation if you want to join us for our first North Atlantic right whale cruise of 2008 on August 30th! Call our office at 1-877-688-2600 for info and reservations.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rain and fog but still great whales

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy. Well, the past few days have brought a lot of rain and fog to our little part of the Bay of Fundy but we have managed to get most of our trips out. We are still seeing both minke and finback whales, on some departures just one species and on others, like this afternoon, we get the chance to see both species. Due to the fog we have been unable to search further offshore. I was very excited yesterday to see a large colony of black-legged kittiwakes (photo on left) on Whitehorse Island. These small, gull-like birds usually show up much earlier to nest but I haven't seen any until this week.

Below are 2 photos I took this morning off bald eagles on Black Rock in Head Harbour Passage. The eagle on the left is obviously an adult with it's noticeable white head while the bald eagle on the right is a juvenile.

Below are 2 of the whales we saw today. The top photo is a fin whale seen on our 2pm departure and the bottom, a minke, seen on our 10am trip. This afternoon we had 2 minkes surface side-by-side! Not a common sight as minkes, like a baleen whales, usually travel alone.

I thought I would leave you with a picture of a harbour porpoise I took this afternoon. There was a large bait ball (ball of herring) in the Passage today and tonnes of porpoise all around feeding. It was a great opportunity to snap a picture!

Thanks for checking in today and check back often for more sightings with Quoddy Link Marine.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What a gorgeous day!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy back from an absolutely gorgeous day on the water. Today the Bay of Fundy looked like a pond the water was so still. We had finback and minke whales on all 3 departures today. The photo on the left is a harbour porpoise. These little cetaceans are often mistaken for dolphins but they are quite a bit smaller than the dolphins we get in our area and their dorsal fin is triangular in shape versus the sickle shape dorsal of an Atlantic white-sided dolphin. Below are 2 pics from today, the top is a fin whale and the bottom, a minke.

Thanks for checking in today! Cheers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some rain...some fog....some wind...but great whales

Hey all, it's Danielle with Quoddy. We have had a bit of everything when it comes to weather the past few days but we are still seeing both minke and finback whales. Below are the 2 finback whales we saw today (top fin whale see on our 2:00 pm departure and the bottom on the 5:30 pm trip). The porpoise and the seal numbers are still great and tonight we saw 2 mature northern gannets

I did want to mention that we have scheduled one of our trips to see the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale for Saturday, August 30th at 7:30 am. For information and reservations (space is limited) please contact the office at 1-877-688-2600. Below are 2 photos from one of our 2006 trips.

I am keeping this short and sweet tonight, Cheers and thanks for checking in.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bay of Fundy Fog!

Hello everyone, Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a foggy day on the Bay of Fundy. The weather hasn't been the greatest the past few days but we have managed to get a few trips in. We are still seeing both minke and finback whales (some departures we get to see both species). We are still seeing young bald eagles on Whitehorse Island (pictured on the left). Below are two photos from yesterdays' evening departure, the top is a minke whale and the bottom, a finback whale. Both whales we sighted off Campobello Island.

We had some wild weather here in St. Andrews yesterday evening but our folks on the 5:30 trip missed it all (we were spending time with a finback whale but we could see the lightening towards home). Below is a shot after we got home of St. Andrews....the calm after the storm!

Thanks for checking in, the weather doesn't sound the greatest for the next few days but I will keep my fingers crossed that the forecast is incorrect!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Minke and Finback Whales

Hi everyone, it's Danielle back from a long day on the water so I am going to keep this short tonight. We have been having some great sightings of both minke (photos below) and finback whales. I do want to mention that we have taken 2 runs out to the offshore area on clear and calm days but there is nothing to be found......yet. The harbour porpoise sightings have been fantastic the past 2 days and I had my first sighting this year of a northern gannet, our largest native seabird and my personal favorite.

Well, that's all for tonight thanks for checking in and visit often for more sightings from Quoddy Link Marine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Warm weather...on shore anyways!

Good Evening all, it's Danielle back from another day out on a hazy Bay of Fundy. We have been having some great sightings the past few days with finback and minke whales. At times it can be challenging but patience usually pays off! It just reminds us that nature does her own thing and the whales are on nobodies schedules but their own.

Below are the 2 finback whales we saw today, note the difference in the shape of their dorsal fins.

This is a video I shot on our 10:00 am departure of a finback whale off Bliss Island. You can see the blaze (white, brush-like mark coming up from the lower right jaw and extending behind the blowhole) and the chevrons (V-shaped markings behind the blaze). Researchers use these markings to help ID the individual whales as they are as unique as our fingerprints.

Thanks for checking in today and check back often for more Bay of Fundy sightings with Quoddy Link Marine!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bay of Fundy fog and a curious minke whale

Well, we woke up this morning to some thick Bay of Fundy fog and due to the lack of visibility we decided to cancel our 10:00 am departure but we did make it our for our afternoon and evening trips. On our 2:00 pm trip we had a very curious minke whale who was spyhopping (bringing his rostrum vertically out of the water). It was really amazing to see as this is not a common behaviour for minke whales. I wish I was able to get some video or photos to share with you. We had a minke whale on our evening departure as well, this time further up Head Harbour Passage. The fog was too thick in afternoon to look in the area where we have been seeing the finback whales the past 3 days but we did search on our 5:30 departure as the fog pushed back for a little but with no luck.

I wanted to share this photo with you I took today of a young bald eagle on Whitehorse Island, have a close look at those talons!

These are a some grey seals hauled out on the reefs surrounding Casco Bay Island. The smaller seal is a grey seal, most likely a young of the year born last January or February on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia.

That's all for today, Cheers from St. Andrews!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 days with fins

Hello, it's Danielle with Quoddy again. We have had 3 great days now seeing finback whales on each and every trip out! On some departures it does take some patience, but patience and the willingness to keep your eyes on the water are 2 of the most important things you can bring whale watching (and warm clothes!). Not only have we been seeing finbacks but also minke whales, LOTS of seals and harbour porpoise and some more bird life is starting to show up in our part of the Bay of Fundy. We have identified arctic terns and Bonaparte's Gulls as well we saw a juvenile great cormorant on Whitehorse a few days ago. We did take a long run offshore yesterday to make sure we weren't missing out on any other whales out there. Keep checking as I am eagerly awaiting to see who will be our first humpback whale of the season (humpbacks typically show up in our part of the Bay of Fundy by mid to late August but each season is different and when the weather is good we often go searching 'cause you never know what's out there unless you look!).
Thanks for checking in today. Cheers!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Finback whales on all 3 trips!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a gorgeous day out on the Bay of Fundy....and by gorgeous I mean no fog! We were so happy to be able to pass Parker Island and see the open Bay of Fundy ahead of us, and with unlimited visibility we were hoping for a great day of whale watching.
On our 10:00 am departure we found a finback whale not far from Bliss Island, we spent some time with "him" but "he" wasn't the easiest whale to watch, staying down a long time and making some big moves. We also found a more cooperative minke whale among the islands.

Our 2:00 pm departure took us back to the same finback whale, passed on from Fundy Tide Runners, another whale watching company out of St. Andrews. The whale was being even more difficult to watch and with a few other boats around we decided to head out further. We made our way to Southern Wolf Island were we found 2 finback whales! They were both staying down for 8 minutes between dives but they would surface very close to where they went down so they were great to watch.

On 5:30 departure we found a nice size minke whale off Whitehead Island then we made our way back to Southern Wolf to search for the pair of finback whales. We found them and it was well worth the trip! They were still staying down for about 6 minutes between dives but they were not moving very far at all and when they did come up we could follow them just under the surface of the water by watching their footprints (flat circular patches on the surface of the water caused by the fluke moving up and down).

Below is a video taken on our 5:30 trip.

Right after I shot the video above Matt, our captain, pointed out that we could see the pair of finback whales on our fish finder (they are the red and yellow long skinny objects in the middle)! They went right under the boat and I wanted to share that with you.

I have also included photos of all 3 finback whales we saw today. The top photo was the finback we saw on our morning and afternoon trip. The bottom 2 are from our afternoon and evening departures.

Thanks for checking in today. Hopefully the nice weather will hang around for a while! Cheers.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Minke whales and the Old Sow

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a great day on the water. On both our afternoon and our evening departure we spent some time with 2 minke whales. The fog stayed offshore long enough for us to get our evening trip in but it has came right back in St. Andrews harbour. Below are pictures I took today on our 2:00pm departure between Cherry and Campobello Island.

On yesterdays post I talked about the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere and today I decided to take some video to share with all of you. I've been with Quoddy for 7 years and the power of the Old Sow and the tides of the Bay of Fundy never cease to amaze me.

I thought I would leave you with 2 photos I took on our 5:30 pm departure. On our way between Simpson and Mowat Island, while looking at an aquaculture site, we spotted this young bald eagle. Notice the slight molted appearance of the feathers and the brown feathers on the white head. Thanks for checking in today, the weatherman is calling for more fog tomorrow....hopefully it will clear soon so we can check out our offshore areas!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A pleasant surprise from a finback whale!

Good evening all, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link! I wanted to share with you how our day was, I'm sorry I don't have any photos to show you from today's departures, today was one of the days I just decided to watch with my eyes as opposed to through my view finder of my Nikon DSLR.

St. Andrews was greeted this morning with Bay of Fundy fog but it did burn off in amongst the islands in time for our 2:00pm departure. We were able to spend quality time with the minke whale we have been watching the past few days. On our way out we stopped to show our passengers the Old Sow, a tidal whirlpool, the largest in the Western Hemisphere! The Old Sow is created due to the way the currents and tide flows around the corners of Deer and Moose Island and is funneled into Western Passage. We actually had a few passengers who mentioned that the Old Sow was the highlight of their trip, not the minke whale!! The photo is from The Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors' Association (© 1995 Old Sow Publishing). For our passengers you can order a certificate to commemorate your experience surviving the Old Sow! Visit www.quoddyloop.com/oldsow/oldsowsurvivors.htm for more information.
Our evening trip took us off East Quoddy Head Light with the same minke whale. We followed "him" up to Nancy's Head then on our way back towards the Light John saw a blow, and after the 2nd blow confirmed his suspicions he announced that they found a finback whale! Finback whales are the second largest animals on our planet reaching over 80 feet and 180,000 lbs! This is our 3rd fin whale sighting and we hope it is a sign of things to come.
Thanks for checking in today! Cheers.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Minke whales and some offshore searching

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a lovely day on the water. We have spent the past few days with a very special minke whale in and around Head Harbour Passage. This minke has continually been an absolute pleasure to watch. We have been out looking offshore, into the open Bay of Fundy, for larger whales but with no luck yet. Our Scout Boat has been out looking and covered virtually our entire 25 nm radius. We always say "You have to look", you never know what could be out there until you make the effort and have a look. And that is what we will continue to do until our larger whales, finbacks and humpbacks, arrive in our part of the Bay of Fundy! I will keep you posted.

An island we do like to visit early in the season is Whitehorse Island. This rocky island is a nesting site for a variety of seabirds including herring gulls, greater black back gulls, black guillemots, double-crested cormorants and the odd year there may be a nesting pair off northern gannets or even Atlantic puffins! Pictured here are three young herring gulls obviously not quite ready to leave their nest on Whitehorse.

I thought I would leave you with a picture of some grey seals (both male and female) and a newly weaned harbour seal. Thanks for checking in today. Cheers.

Friday, July 04, 2008

No Fog...what a beautiful day!

Hello all, what a beautiful day we had on the water! We had 3 trips today and on all 3 we had the same minke whale. This whale is probably the most cooperative minke whale I have ever watched. We got some amazing looks on both our afternoon and our evening departures. The picture on the left you can clearly see the white band around the pectoral flippers.

Here is a video from our morning departure of a minke whale not too far from Eastport, ME

The video clip below is from our afternoon departure, these are harbour seals on Casco Bay Island.

I'm still getting used to the video camera....I'll keep trying.

Well, that's all for today. I do want to wish a Happy July 4th to our American friends! Check back soon for more sightings from Quoddy.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Another great day at the beginning of the season!

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link back from a rather breezy day on the water. The morning started very foggy but with a boat load of hearty passengers on a charter willing to give it a go we headed out. The fog lifted very nicely and we found a minke whale towards the end of the trip.
Here you can appreciate the morning fog. This fisherman is attaching the netting to the weir. A herring weir is a Native American fishing technique that is basically a trap so that when the herring swim in they are unable to find their way back out.

We made a stop at Whitehorse Island and were surprised to see a razorbilled auk sitting close to the water. Razorbills belong to the same group as puffins and, as all auks, are amazing divers actually using their wings to fly under the water. Razorbills are not commonly seen inshore. Below you can see a parent greater black-back gull not happy about our presence, that's his or her chick on the left.

Our afternoon trip was just as successful. We watched a very cooperative minke whale off East Quoddy Head Light, and it was definitely a different minke whale from the morning trip (we could see a difference in the dorsal fin). A few passengers got an extra treat because as we were about 3/4 of a mile away the minke whale decided to breach 4 times out of the water, not a very common sight especially with minke whales.

Thanks so much for checking in today, the wind is forecasted to diminish over night so we will hope for the best tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Canada Day

Hello everyone, it's Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine. I first want to send out a Happy Canada Day to all of our Canadian readers! I hope that everyone was able to relax and do whatever makes them most happy!

We had a great Canada Day here in St. Andrews, a little bit of rain (which the passengers on our 2:00pm departure missed because they were out among the West Isles watching a minke whale!). We have been having some classic Bay of Fundy Fog here which has not allowed us to venture offshore in search of larger whales but as the day warms up the land and a warm breeze helps to dry out the fog we can get out into Head Harbour Passage and look for minke whales and that is exactly what we have been doing! Our other sightings, including seals, porpoise and bald eagles have been great. Today we had a fantastic grey seal sighting (my first of the season). These large seals can easily be distinguished from the smaller harbour seal by the horse-like shape of their head.

Below I have included a small clip of our touch tank which we bring out on our run home across Passamaquoddy Bay. Joline and I are showing our passengers just a few of the animals we bring along (here you can see a sea cucumber, sea urchin and a hermit crab).

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next few days will bring some clearer weather. I will keep you posted!