background image

Field story 11


In recent years, it started to get tricky to leave our little harbour in Les Bergeronnes, where the Caribe is moored safely. This summer the channel leading from the docks to KJ4, and between the red and green markers to KJ2 was so shallow, that we had to lift the engine when passing during very low tides.

alt


For several days a special company dug up all the mud, which was carried into the channel from the Grandes Bergeronnes River. It was quite a spectacle to watch the crane dive into the ground, lifting smelly mud into the air, placing it on one of the barges, which then dumped it into the deeper waters of the St. Lawrence River. 
 

alt
 

alt
 

Special story

Several of our participants had a rather sad encounter with a dead minke whale, which was discovered by a helicopter crew of the Coast Guard. After a short walk we found the carcass lying on a remote beach. Rope marks around the tail suggested that the juvenile animal of only 5.3 m length most probably died due to an entanglement.

alt

 
Although we were all fascinated to see the carcass we were also quite disturbed by the tragic end of this young life, which could have lasted up to 50 – 60 years.

alt


We planned to cut up the bones but hurricane Irene moved the carcass about 2 km along the coast breaking the jaw and flippers into pieces. The carcass was eventually buried at the beach where the storm had left it.


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 32

24 individuals identified: Badaboum, Badaud, Bisou, Cassis, Chap-Chap, Chicouté, Crab Claw, Daks-alike, Farfadet, ‚Harrison’, Lutin, Mûre, Nichon, Owl Eyes, Perséides, Ratatouille, Santafin, Sawcut, Senzafin, Slash Eleven, Tin Whistle, Whalerider.


Other species

Finbacks: 15+
Humpbacks
Belugas
Harbour porpoises
Grey seals: 200+
Loons

 

Field story 12

Just days before our season ended we witnessed amazing surface feeding activities just west of the buoy K58. Between experienced hunters such as Nichon and Perséides, several baby minke whales applied mainly lateral and ventral arcs. They engulfed the prey just as powerful and efficient as their adult idols.
 

alt

 
One very small minke whale, I would guess it was in its second year, carried already severe although well-healed entanglement marks. It makes one wonder what dangers caused by human activities these minke whales have to face during their winter migration. 

Special story

That day, the most impressive hunting behaviour was applied by Perséides. Never did I see this manoeuvre before. Neither from her, nor another individual. Powerfully and fast she lunged straight into the air turning onto her right side and, without an active slap, she fell back into the water. At first I thought it was an oblique lunge. But why turn onto her side afterwards? That didn’t make sense.
 

alt

 
Then I realized that she applied a new entrapment manoeuvre as it was only seconds later followed by either a vertical, lateral or oblique lunge, always performed right through the spot of the yet unnamed entrapment manoeuvre. 
 

alt
A strong thank you to Christophe, Heidi,Luzia, Beni and Maya
of our team 5 who experienced Irene with us!


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 35

24 individuals identified: Artiste, Badaud, Bisou, Bushmills, Chap-Chap, Chubby, Cleo, Coin-Coin, Crab Claw, Drapeau, Échelon, Funambule, Goliath, Harley, ,Lutin Mamillon, Monticule, Parus, Picasso, Piccola, Ratatouille, Shawne, Slash Eleven, Suss, Teapot, Tin Whistle ,Top Notch-alike', Witche's Hat, Zinzin.


Other species

Blue whales
Finbacks: 15+
Humpbacks: 2
Belugas
Harbour porpoises
Grey seals
Common seal
Gannets
Loons