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Field story 5


The weather has been exceptional during the first field course. After fifteen continuous days on the water we were happy to get a break on Sunday when the second group arrived. Catching up with cleaning, baking, sorting and fixing we welcomed a very international group from Finland, the States, Korea, and Switzerland.

Special story

Passing a dispersed group of beluga whales at low speed to minimize disturbance and noise, something must have triggered the curiosity of some of them. Suddenly huge air bubbles behind the boat pulled our eyes from the white whales at distance.
 

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Although we stayed on course and didn’t change our speed some juveniles kept following us, breaking the surface near the boat, and even rolling onto their side to look at us. These are moments of whale research when one stops to think of collecting data. All you do is watch this beauty and enjoy these unique moments.

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Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 38

38 individuals identified: Aileron, Calvin, Calvin, Chap-Chap, Chubby, Coin-Coin, Coin-Coin, Drapeau, Échelon, Farfadet, Funambule, Glenfiddich, Goliath, 'Harrison', Honeycomb, Itchy, L'Onde, Mamillon, Otter, Owl Eyes, Perséides, Picasso, Sawcut, Shawne, Slash Eleven, Speedy, Suss, Tache Blanche, Têtard, Ticket Punch, Tin Whistle, Trident, Trilignes, Witche's Hat.


Other species

Finbacks: 10+
Belugas: 70+
Harbour porpoise: 50+
Grey seals 150+
Gannets
Loons


 

Field story 6

‘I am with the minke whale, which shows its flukes.’ the captains of whale-watching boats announce these days. But they don’t seem to talk about Aramis, the first humpback whale who arrived ten days ago. Yet it seems they neither mean the blue whales being in the area as well, although elusive.
 

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Special story

No, they talk about a minke whale, a member of a species not known to fluke. But as we know today there are always exceptions among the St. Lawrence minke whales. Yet, only two other minkes have exhibited such behaviour in the past; one of which is well-known Slash Eleven. But none of them did it as high and often.

Continues fluking

In 2009 when we observed this behaviour for the first time this minke was still a very small animal. Was it due to her size that she had to throw the flukes high into the air at the end of a ventral arc? It didn’t seem to me however, that the force was exceptionally strong to explain the fluking.

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We finally named her Aileron, after the hinged surfaces on airplanes used to keep lateral balance. Today, Aileron continues to apply this special behaviour repetitively during feeding periods, throughout the summers and even over years. But she might only fluke because she is a juvenile and still small animal.

The showing off of Aileron

We will certainly monitor her behaviour in coming years as we can easily identify her by the tall dorsal fin and a tiny nick. Who knows she might stop once she is a fully-grown adult. Or she might continue. Hopefully actually. As she is such a delight to watch.
 

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I certainly would love to continue to hear the captains’ announcements on the radio, ‘Oui, je suis avec le petit rorqual qui monte sa queue!’
 

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Team # 2; Irene, Ricky, Matti, Yuri and Claudia.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.


Whale sightings (highest # per day)

Minke whales: 54

64 individuals identified: Aileron, Appaloosa, Artiste, Badaud, Bisou, Boomerang, Bubbler, Calanus, Calvin, Cassis, Chicouté, Chubby, Crab Claw, Daks, Daks-alike, Donna Vitale, Drapeau, Échelon, Farfadet, Fourmilier, Glenfiddich, Heaps'n Heaps, Knuckles, Kouglof, Luna, Lutin, Mamillon, Man-in-the-Moon, Monticule, Nichon, Ohnifin, Ondine, Owl Eyes, Papillon, Parus, Picasso, Puntini, Ratatouille, Santafin, Sawcut, Scema, Scratchy, Senzafin, Slash Eleven, Speedy, Stubby, Suss, Teapot, Têtard, Three Scars, Ticket Punch, Tin Whistle, 'Top Notch-alike', Trident, Whalerider, Witche's Hat, Zinzin.


Other species

Finbacks: 14
Humpback: 1 (Aramis)
Belugas: 70+
Harbour porpoise: 50+
Grey seals: 150+
Gannets: 15+
Loons