After a week brimming with observations, local residents have noted a slow-down in whale activity in recent days. Is the heat causing fish to seek refuge in deeper waters, dragging those gluttonous whales with them into the abyss? Or is it us, too blinded by the sun, who no longer take notice of the spouts and fins? That’s anyone’s guess! Nevertheless, a few observations still managed to fascinate the fortunate individuals who made them.

A tour of the Saguenay

At the lookout in L’Anse-de-Roche, observers have been enjoying a very active minke whale for three days. Minke whales occasionally make incursions up the Saguenay to forage. Belugas do so more often. Even if they usually turn back once they reach Baie Sainte-Marguerite, some of them occasionally push their luck a little further. This was the case with a group of belugas that were swimming off L’Anse-à-Pelletier at around 6 in the evening on June 21. Earlier that day, Renaud Pintiaux observed his first two beluga newborns of the season. He also later saw several harbour seals basking on the rocks in the Saguenay.

Minke whales and a humpback in the Lower North Shore

To reach the village of La Tabatière, in Quebec’s Basse-Côte-Nord (Lower North Shore) region, one must either take a plane or a boat. The life of locals therefore revolves very much around the wilderness. On June 17, a recreational fisherman crosses paths with a humpback and a minke whale. The following day, he sees another minke whale and two more again on June 23.

Busy day in Baie-des-Sables

In Baie-des-Sables, one observer is treated to several quality observations on June 23. While he is testing his luck at hooking a striped bass from the docks at dawn, a huge seal performs “aquatic choreography” for fifteen minutes. Then, at around 8:40 in the morning, a minke whale approaches to within approximately 300 metres of the wharf. Time marches on, and a white dot appears offshore. It’s a beluga. “This is a first one for me in 11 years of living by the sea in Baie-des-Sables!”, remarks the observer in astonishment. The beluga is heading toward Matane. A fishing boat later approaches the docks to greet friends at the water’s edge. On board, they’ve landed a halibut weighing at least 70 kilo! At the end of the day, a beluga – perhaps the same one – is swimming off the marina, only this time it’s moving in the opposite direction. What a day!

 

Breaching minke whale

The Côte-Nord is particularly stunning when one admires it from the Bas-Saint-Laurent at sunset. Joking aside, on June 24, a local resident is delighted to be treated to a vividly coloured sky and a breaching minke whale vis-à-vis Îlet au Flacon in Bic National Park.

Belugas by the dozen

On June 20, a handful of white backs are observed near L’Isle-aux-Coudres. On June 23, a GREMM employee counted around fifty opposite the Saint-Siméon docks, at the same time as others counted nearly a dozen in front of Tadoussac’s Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre. Belugas are very social, so they are generally observed in groups that can vary in size from two or three individuals up to several hundred!

Whale-watching road trip

After photographing the humpback in Montréal, a whale lover set out on the road to observe them in their natural habitat. From Tadoussac to Franquelin with a pit stop in Les Bergeronnes, he crossed paths with minke whales, belugas, harbour porpoises and grey seals. And above all, he was able to take advantage of the cool breeze blowing in from the sea. For those who take the time to look out to sea, there are often nice surprises!

And a seal in Laval!

A young bearded seal was observed on June 23 and 24 at the BoBiNo marina. This species, typically found in the Arctic, was lounging in Laval.

More details about this unusual visitor here.

 

Observation of the Week - 26/6/2020

Marie-Ève Muller

Marie-Ève Muller is responsible for GREMM's communications and spokeperson for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergencies Response Network (QMMERN). As Editor-in-Chief for Whales Online, she devours research and has an insatiable thirst for the stories of scientists and observers. Drawing from her background in literature and journalism, Marie-Ève strives to put the fragile reality of cetaceans into words and images.

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