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  • Fadia Al Abbar

Sei what?!

Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) have been everywhere. We were not even trying, and we randomly heard Sei whale blows next to us when surveying common dolphins. Sometimes we even had to halt our experiment because the Sei whale was creating a mixed species association with the common dolphins, which is a variable we do not want to have to deal with during the analysis! So we waited until the Sei whale or dolphins moved away to start our data collection on common dolphins. We can't complain, none of us have seen anything like this, but the Sei whales loved the south coast of São Miguel, and they seemed to be present in the other island of the Azores too!

Sei Whale!

Sei whale resting:

Sei whale defecating (pooping):

Sei whale traveling and foraging, we have seen it all in the month of July/August.

Ps. have you noticed our logo is now white? Do you remember Pablo Varona, who has helped us on land finding dolphins from land, and who came on board with us as a nature photographer? He has created the white version of our logo and we are very pleased!!

Common dolphins feeding frenzy

It is not uncommon for us to film common dolphins foraging. However, this time was really special. The common dolphins started speeding up like crazy (which is what they seem to usually do when they find fish) when suddenly, we saw a very large dark patch in the water. A school of fish! But this was the biggest school we've ever filmed!!

Not only did the common dolphins make use of this school of fish, but we also saw some darker shadows in the water column that were larger than the common dolphins.....we've had a good look and identified them as Bluefin Tunas! See the photo below, and the middle one where you can see how large this Bluefin was compared to a common dolphin! A common dolphin is between 2 and 2.5 meters in length. So this Bluefin tuna must have been at least 3 meters!

The dolphins and tuna were foraging for about 10 minutes and we saw the school of fish get smaller and smaller when it eventually sunk into deeper waters. We will post the video online soon, stay tuned!

Exhibition coming up!

In the month of August we had 2 special guests come on board, Ocean Cinematographer Kyle Roepke and our collaborator, filmmaker, film director, and activist Martina Trepczyk. They filmed and photographed on board whilst we encountered dolphin species. Would you like to see what they filmed on their days with us? Along with their other oceanic adventures in the Azores, including their trip to Santa Maria Island? Check out their prints, and postcards? Sit, relax, and watch ocean movies? You are all invited to their exhibition from 10-25 September starting at 5pm every day!

I will be presenting a little bit about Azores delphis project as well, 11 September, at 8pm. We hope to see you there! See details below or check Martina's website:

Stay tuned, we have so many updates that we had to split up our monthly blog in 2....

Fieldwork is funded by KNAW Ecologie

Author: Fadia Al Abbar

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