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|2-5-2019 am| Juvenile Sperm Whale practicing deep dives and Bottlenose dolphins off "Queimada"

This expedition took the Azores Naturalist Team to watch sperm whales south of Pico Island departing from Horta. Calm sea and a low cloud cover set the stage for a good morning session with Sperm whales.

Juvenile Sperm Whale's showing blow-hole off Azores

Juvenile sperm whale next to adult starting a deep dive.

These were diving deep and long, making it difficult to track the animals from the surface. A great surprise was a young juvenile, of ca. 3-4 meters, performing the typical movements of a deep diving adult sperm whale.

Resting calmly for several minutes, keeping the direction of the group, recovering O2 levels, and performing the movements pre-dive, and fluking high before diving. It did confused us, but the animal returned to the surface around 15 minutes later, to repeat it all again. After all it was 800 m depths. A juvenile practicing to be an adult!

Juvenile sperm whale practicing deep dives

Tail of juvenile sperm whale practicing deep dives

Lateral view of the juvenile sperm whale.

Juvenile sperm whale blowing off Lages do Pico

Bottlenose Dolphins

The same pod of Bottlenose dolphins observed 30-4-2019 south of Faial were now next to Vigia da Queimada, off Lages do Pico, south of Pico Island. A famous vigia from the whaling period, and a lovely place that we are allways happy to be at.

Pico view of Castelete and Vigia da Queimada on the upper right corner

Vigia da Queimada, Pico, Azores

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) during mating interactions

The Bottlenose were displaying mating behaviour, so the observations focused on the interacting adults and sub-adults with plenty of aereal displays. Only for a few moments a female with a juvenile observed allowed to connect both groups.

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) on aerial display

Female Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Cory's Shearwater

Before we return we collected a dead male Cory's shearwater floating off Pico. The specimen was taken for stomach content analysis, and is now kept in the Natural Park of Faial. We collected some early stage goose barnacles already settled on the legs. Several risks such as physical or chemical polution, fishing nets, colision, or non anthropogenic origins may be related. In the Picture, the museum curator and taxidermist Bas Perdijk evaluating the collected specimen at the location.

The curator and taxidermist Bas Perdijk evaluating a Cory's shearwater found dead at sea in the Azores

The adventurer Naturalists onboard this expedition outside the Naturalist Base Lab in Horta!

A final pic with a great team of Azores Naturalists! (left to right) Steven, André, Gisela, Claudia, Andreas, Martine, Gilles, Mr. and Ms. Victoria Lam, Astrid, Bas, Anouk and José Nuno


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