Post Content

Erin Burke

Erin Burke

Protected Species Specialist, Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)

View Erin’s Bio

Right WhaleThe peak season for right whales in Cape Cod bay is here!

Last Friday, the aerial survey team saw 44 right whales in eastern and southern Cape Cod Bay. The whales are feeding on their favorite plankton species, calanus finmarchicus, which appears to be present throughout the area.

Right whales were seen high skim feeding at the water’s surface. This behavior is common in Cape Cod Bay but rare in other known habitats and is often seen in the spring on calm days when copepods (a small crustacean-like organism the size of a tip of a ballpoint pen that feeds on plankton) are in the surface layer. The whale’s upper jaw is elevated above the water and the lower jaw just below. Late in the day, copepods aggregate at the surface, a phenomenon that triggers this unique and fascinating feeding behavior.

This is the time of year that whales can be seen from shore. DMF received reports from shore-based whale watchers on the Sandwich and Barnstable north-facing beaches on April 2 and April 5 that feeding whales were visible from shore. Take your binoculars and check it out! With any luck they will remain in the bay and as the season wears on, sightings will likely be possible from Provincetown beaches as well.

All boaters are reminded that federal and state law prohibits boats from coming within 500 yards of right whales. This rule is enforced by the state and federal authorities and bears substantial penalties for violations.

The photo was shot in Cape Cod Bay on April 18, 2009 The under National Marine Fisheries Service permit 633-1763, issued under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22

Not From Around Here: Green Crabs

As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.

Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor! posted on Aug 18

Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!

Looking for a fun day trip for you and possibly your family? Look no further, the Boston Harbor Islands are the place to be. Lots of events take place on these islands during the summer months, so enjoy these festivities while they are here! Spectacle   …Continue Reading Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!

K-9 to the Rescue posted on Aug 13

K-9 to the Rescue

At 5:35 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, Officer Art O’Connell got a call about two missing girls in Douglas State Park. Officer O’Connell, his partner Diesel and a back up state trooper had to search the 5,900-acre, nine square mile, park on foot, as the canopy of the trees was too thick to search via helicopter and the ground too uneven to search by vehicle.