Another one of the questions may have been answered as well. I wrote about the whale Tips in post #7 and wondered why we see him only once a season when he comes to the Bay of Fundy. Well ... Tips has been seen repeatedly off East Quoddy light on Campobello, New Brunswick for the last week. One of the whale watch boat captains says he has the latitude and longitude written down and goes there daily to see him. It is rare for a right whale to show such specific site fidelity. Maybe Tips really likes this northern area and has been spending his summers in this area where we rarely survey.
But as each question is answered, new ones come up. Why are many of the whales so far north? The last time many right whales were this far north during the summer was back in 1980 and 1981--nearly 30 years ago! It almost certainly has to do with the distribution of food, but we are not equipped aboard the R/V Nereid to do the necessary oceanographic sampling to determine what has changed.
On Friday, we had an unusually broad picture of right whale distributions. We had 40 right whales in this northern area, the R/V Callisto had another 20 whales in the middle of the Grand Manan Basin, a whale watch boat had 15 right whales to the west near Grand Manan Island, and our research team on Roseway Basin south of Nova Scotia had 20 whales there--nearly 100 whales in a single day!
Stay tuned to see how this distribution changes, if at all, over the coming weeks...
1) Punctuation and her calf
2) A right whale breaching off South Wolf Island
3) A whale flukes off the Wolves