This summer we have a minke whale research project scheduled from mid June until mid August. This study relies on both automatic passive acoustic recordings and concurrent observations made in the same area. Please see the previous post if you may be interested in volunteering for this project as the deadline for applicants has been extended.
Today, myself and Christie McMillan, directors of MERS, performed a trial run of the visual observation part of this upcoming research project. Within 5 minutes of setting up the tripod we heard and then observed a small minke whale named Eclipse that we have known since 2007. After a few minutes of minke whale observations and also watching a harbour seal chasing sandlance we decided to head out on the water to get some identification photos of Eclipse.
After some searching we found Eclipse engaged in long dives and erratic movements which are both fairly typical for minke whales. We were able to get some identification photos of one side of this whale before it disappeared completely. About ten minutes later we spotted a pod of about 25 male Pacific white-sided dolphins that were also directly in front of the shore-based observation point. They too were making fairly erratic movements but we managed to acquire some photos for some colleagues.
It looks as though its shaping up to be a typical summer full of cetacean life in the waters around Cormorant Island.