Megaptera novaeangliae – a fitting name for the majestic “big wing” Humpback Whale

Humpback Whales feeding off the coast of Cape Cod

So many whales! So little time! The weather was not predicted to be the best that day and thoughts of an early return were lingering in the background. We saw one lone fishing boat early on and upon reaching our reported whale feeding area found ourselves alone in the waters. Except for being surrounded by whales in every direction! There were water spouts, fluke and pectoral fin flaps, and bubble nets near and far!

Near as in that moment when you realize you really don’t need a 600mm lens! Jonah going down!
This Humpback was just a little further away! The view of the baleen was incredible through my camera and lens!
Follow the birds and they will lead to the feeding whales. The birds were awesome but, as much as I love the gulls, cormorants, terns, petrels, jaegers, gannets, and others, my sights were on the whales for this trip.
The gulls do add a bit of humor at times when they are caught in a spray rinse with some whale breath added for good measure.
Whale skate does look like a fun activity!
The magical moment when the research team realized that it was Salt with a new calf! S

Salt is one to keep tabs on as she has a nice long family tree with 14 calves dating back to 1980, grandcalves, and great-grandcalves! You can rather easily recognize Salt as she was named for the white streaming off her dorsal fin that you can see in the image above.

Could that be a wave goodbye from the “big wing” for which it was named?

There were so many images taken that June 16th trip with New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance. Such wonderful memories that the cloudy day with spatters of rain and spray from the waves were not even a thought. Except for the wiping of camera filters!

Alas! There is a lecture at the end of a happy story!

2019 is a year of numerous dead sea mammals washing up on shores in too many places. So much so that places for them to rot are becoming scarce. Since the warning signs of plastic becoming meal items for sea birds and sea life has not been enough, the slap of sights and odors of death of these huge majestic lifeforms should be our awakening. Do Not Buy Balloons! They are a menace to all wildlife! They travel long distances, last extremely long periods of time and degrade into tiny pieces and particles, and wildlife become tangled, and many, such as, turtles and whales ingest them. They are not a symbol of a celebration but rather represent a death sentence. Please celebrate responsibly!

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