Sei and Right Whales off of Massachusetts

I’m on a boat heading back into Gloucester, Massachusetts and just had an awesome afternoon whale watching. I was hoping for Atlantic White Sided Dolphins which I missed. But who cares because there were several skim feeding Sei Whales (a lifer) pllus a few North Atlantic Right Whales And Minkes too. The water was red with plankton so it’s going off here. If anyone’s on the neighborhood you might want to head out to sea tomorrow. A longer report will follow. 




  • John Fox

    Congrats, Jon, sounds like a great day afloat.

    You’ve got White-beaked Dolphins in NA, which is much harder than Atlantic White-sided (and of which I’m very jealous, LOL). Apparently 40 years ago the situation was reversed and White-sided was rare, something to do with a change in the food chain.

    More for general info than anything, the northernmost part of Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, has resident White-sided and Long-finned Pilot Whales. The guy who runs Oshan whale watching is a great guy to go out with. Not as easy to get to as Boston, though.

    • Jon Hall

      THanks John, I will get them one day. I think further north is probably better (Maine, Quebec or Nova Scotia). But they are even off of New York sometimes I think

  • vdinets

    Did they tell you how often they see those species, by any chance?
    BTW, shouldn’t we plan a trip for Muskeget vole sometime in the fall? There are some boats in Nantucket that go to Muskeget Island.

    • Jon Hall

      I will post a report with pics in a few days but the ship’s naturalist has been on about 2000 trips and see Sei’s 10 – 15 times. She’d only seen them skim feeding once before. And she’d never seen the Northern Rights skim feeding so I was lucky to say the least. Northern Rights are regular there in the first couple of weeks of May but then head up to the Bay of Funday. And yes we should try for that vole!

      • vdinets

        One more trip I’d like to pull off while in RI would be an early October drive to Quebec, probably ending in the tundra on Hudson Bay shore (there is one road reaching the tundra, so I’d like to try photographing Labrador collared lemming there). Interested in carpooling?

  • Curtis Hart

    I may be interested in that early October trip if the offer is open. I should have that time off.

    Curtis Hart

  • John Fox

    I would try to make the vole trip and the Quebec trip.

    Is this the road you are thinking about, Vladimir?

    • vdinets

      Yep, that’s the one. I know for sure that LCL occurs at the end of the road (although the photos show taiga rather than tundra; I guess the lemmings are on granite hilltops). I wonder what the lemming numbers are this year – we could probably just phone the village and ask.
      Note that every participant will have to contribute a minimum of ten Sherman traps 🙂
      I am still not 100% convinced that the trip is worth the time and money, but so far it looks interesting.

      • vdinets

        Also, I still have to talk my wife into this. She doesn’t like long, boring drives… but she speaks French, which is an asset.

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