Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 2016 sightings statistics

It's been another fantastic month of whale and dolphin watching off São Miguel in the Azores. In total we encountered 11 different species; 6 whale species and 5 dolphin species. This is typical for the Azores during the spring time, the best time of the year to see the greatest number of species. We have encountered both regulars that we see often and know very well (especially our resident groups of bottlenose dolphins, such as the group of "Bubblemaker") and new visitors that we have not encountered here before. All of the sperm whales, blue whales and humpback whales we encountered in May are new to us, meaning that we have not photographed them here before and they are now new additions to our catalogues. One of the humpback whales we saw at the start of the month stayed around São Miguel for at least a week and a half and was also seen off northeast Iceland last year. We definitely had some nice surprises this past month, including a rare encounter with beaked whales, a very curious minke whale that came to check out all our boats and even a curiuos blue whale.  As well as whales and dolphins this month we encountered loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles, a sunfish, hammerhead shark, blue shark, flying fish and free-floating animals such as Portuguese man-o-war, jellyfish, salps and a tunicate colony. As for the birds, we now have a lot of Cory's shearwaters around as well as plenty of gulls, terns and some rare visitors including some little egrets and a black-headed gull at the end of the month.

Whale and dolphin sighting frequencies by day in order of those encountered most often:

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