Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Whale and dolphin highlights


 Now that 2017 is over, it's time for us to think about what happened in this year and of course to continue studing and learning about this beautifull animals we are pationated with, 2017 has been a very interesting year for us in whale and dolphin watching off São Miguel:
A total of 16 different species were encountered this year. The most frequently sighted as usual have been our resident dolphin species, common and bottlenose dolphins, this is a tendency that we see every year with this species as there are some families that are living around our island. Our other resident species, the Risso's dolphin are always less sighted here in São Miguel, but in this year this species was seen every month, at least once.
This has been a very good year of sighting of our resident whale, the sperm whale as we can see in the image below; this is a whale species that may be encounter all along the year but is clearly more encountered in early summer, during the summer and in the late summer, but present all along the year.
Atlantic spotted dolphins have been a surprise this year as they have stayed with us for a very long time this year, they started appearing in the month of June, giving a very good welcome to the summer and they stayed up to December; not only that they have been very encountered, but the encounters with these ones have been great: very big groups of them full of babies. Our swimming with dolphins’ activities were very successfully with this species this year, not only because of the big size of the groups, but also because of their especially curious behaviour of this year ;)

 Fin whale was also a species sighted significantly, mainly during our spring months but also summer and autumn. This whale species it is not considered resident of the Azores, but even though it is true that these whales are seen in spring and summer time during their migrations, for the last years this species have been seen (not very often) around of our island even in winter time, so who knows... We certainly need more studies

Out of the baleen whales that are found in the Azores, three species have had a different behaviour compared to previous years:
-The big surprise were the Bryde's whales, since 2013 and before that 2009 that we didn't see them, this year we had some several individuals, including a calf.
-Blue whales this year were very abundant if compared with other years
-Sei whales were also kind of a surprise as they are usually sighted in spring summer time, but this 2017 appeared with a great abundance in September, October, November and even in December!
We never know what we will see so we can expect a surprise at any time of the year from any species. As well as whales and dolphins we have also registered many sightings of turtles, ocean sunfishmanta rays, sharks, tunaswordfishflying fishjellyfish and several species of seabirds. 
Our graphs below summarise our cetacean (whale and dolphins) sighting frequencies.

We hope you can join us in 2018!


Summary of our encounters all along 2017

 In this graphs below we summarise some of our cetaceans (whale and dolphins) sighting frequencies

This are all of the species and the frequencies of the sightings, as we said resident species are the most sighted ones as usual, this year Atlantic spotted dolphins have a speciel highlight

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