Mystery Mammals

There is a whale of a tale in Edgartown.

Marine mammal madness is what I call it. Earlier this week, I received a call about a few animals that have been swimming around Edgartown harbor. The caller thought that they were either dolphins or pilot whales. Either one would be a good sighting and would make for a nice article.

Young Humpback Whale Pays a Surprise Visit to Edgartown

A juvenile humpback whale that made an errant visit and got stuck in Katama Bay on Sunday afternoon is believed to be okay and swimming the ocean. A group of Islanders, with help from the staff of the New England Aquarium, were able to monitor and eventually see the whale as it swam out into Nantucket Sound late Monday morning.

The 20-foot-plus whale, weighing 10 tons or more, was first spotted on Sunday afternoon by staff of The Trustees of Reservations at Norton Point. At the time it was thought the marine mammal was entangled and in distress in Katama Bay.

Stranded Pygmy Whale Washes Up on Chappaquiddick Beach

Last Friday Skip Bettencourt was strolling the Chappaquiddick side of the Norton Point breach with his wife, his dog and two friends when he stumbled across six feet of bloodied blubber. With the tooth-studded lower jaw of a sperm whale and the pointed snout of a shark, the animal cut an outlandish profile.

“We had no idea what it was,” he said. “It looked like it hadn’t been there that long, though.”

Scientists Study Bird, Sea Life Before Turbines Go Offshore

Wind farms have long provoked a certain cognitive dissonance among environmentalists, who favor renewable energy but oppose the negative impacts of turbines, including bird strikes and habitat displacement. The effects of turbines on bird populations are fairly well understood after a decade of European experience but less is known about their impact underwater, especially on local species of whales and sea turtles.

Wind Forum Stirs Debate as Task Force Remains Skeptical

With Rhode Island Sound now looming as the next frontier for wind development near the Vineyard, the Ocean State’s Gov. Donald Carcieri summed up his state’s energy policy this month with a single phrase: “Spin, baby, spin!”

Huge Group of Rare Whales Off Vineyard

An extraordinary group of right whales — some 95 living specimens of the rarest of all large whale species — was feeding in the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island this week, while two mother and calf right whale pairs were spotted even closer to the Island.

On Saturday, federal scientists in the air saw one mother and calf pair just a mile or two off Oak Bluffs harbor, and on Tuesday, a distinct pair was spotted in Vineyard Sound.

Same Place Next Year? Scientists Wonder if Whales Will Be Back

The rare right whales sighted last month off Block Island and off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have left — but their presence has brought about a shift in thinking in the scientific community.

Last weekend, only one right whale was spotted off the Rhode Island shoreline by the Coast Guard. It is believed the animals have moved to the waters off Chatham or Provincetown and into Cape Cod Bay.

Big Rare Right Whales Return To Feed on Smallest Sea Snacks

This spring endangered Northern Atlantic right whales have been seen and photographed swimming in Vineyard waters. Marine scientists who monitor right whales, considered the rarest among marine mammals, reported seeing 57 whales off Noman’s Land and nearly a dozen south of the Vineyard two weeks ago. More than 200 whales, about half the known population, have been seen since January in Cape Cod Bay.

A Baleen Ballet Dazzles in Local Waters

Until a week ago the waters off of Race Point in Provincetown were a pageant of marine life, with divebombing gannets, 80-foot fin whales slicing the surface, dolphins and porpoises circling like gnats and docile North Atlantic right whales skimming blithely by, mouths agape.

Rare Right Whales Spotted off South Shore Beach; Experts Say Much Activity This Year

Early this week David Damroth was strolling Zack’s Cliffs in Aquinnah and gazed across the gulf to Noman’s Land when he saw an eruption from the water a mile and a half out. It was a double spout, a trademark of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. For the next 45 minutes he watched as at least three animals romped about the surface.

Pages