Featured, Local Photography, Outdoors

Humpback whales lunge feeding

It’s always a treat to hear humpback whales breathe, see the explosive misty plume, watch them majestically cruise along, then wave their powerful flukes before sounding.

Today, I watched what appeared to be a mom and a juvenile do all of the above from shore. White clouds of kittiwakes and other gulls shrieked above them, diving on the bait ball below. Suddenly, the show escalated into a first class act as the mom opened her monstrous jaws and lunged through the water, scooping up a bazillion gallons of water and fish. Her throat pleats bulged with the volume before she slammed her narrow upper jaw shut, letting the water stream out through the baleen strainers. The gulls went nuts with all this action, diving frantically to snatch escaping fish. The juvie did the same nearby, but did not surge as far out of the water like mom

The two whales repeated this action again and again, moving slowly up the bay, followed by the white feathered cloud, until at last I had to leave.

Watch for this pair feeding in the bay, following the shoreline from one side of the bay to the other, even along the First Mile of the Iditarod National  Historic Trail (aka Bike Path.) The frenzied cloud of gulls is a great way to find hungry whales below.

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Carol Griswold

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