This year the winter has been very mild in the Azores, making for some very nice whale and dolphin watching tours departing from São Miguel Island. At least one of our resident species (common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin and sperm whale) has kept us company every day that we have been out on the ocean. Between encounters with the residents we have also encountered some of the first of the seasonal species of the year, with several sightings of striped dolphins, two days with false killer whales and one day with a breaching humpback whale. We always keep an eye out for other marine life and this month our "other species" list includes loggerhead turtles, krill, Portuguese man-o-war, velella, jellyfish, and several seabirds including the first Cory's shearwates of the year, several glaucous gulls, northern gannets and great skuas.
Cetacean sighting frequencies (% of days seen during the month of February):
- Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) - 94%
- Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - 78%
- Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) - 17%
- False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) - 11%
- Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) - 22%
- Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) - 6%