Birds and Marine Mammals, Focus on Gray Seals and… a Jellyfish!… by Renaud Pintiaux
Rain and wind have pummelled the Haute-Côte-Nord region in recent days, but no matter! I’ve been spending a lot of time near the river between Tadoussac and Les Escoumins.
I can’t see any large spouts offshore. The large rorquals seem to have left the area, but things can still change very quickly!
On the other hand, I continue to observe several minke whales, notably near the tip of L’Islet in Tadoussac and off of Cap de Bon-Désir.
Early on the morning of November 18, I’m on the rocks of Cap de Bon-Désir. For once, there’s not the faintest breeze! I hear, then see, several harbour porpoises swimming rather close to shore. I can hear them breathing: short exhalations and inhalations before they dive. A beautiful moment of tranquillity. I also spot a few harp seals and a couple of gray seals. I’ll take this opportunity to share with you a short video montage: footage shot this summer and fall showing these gray seals (close-ups, characteristic behaviour, one herd off Tadoussac and another one interspersed with a few minke whales, etc.). In short, a video illustrating gray seal observations in the Haute-Côte-Nord region throughout the 2016 season “in the field”. For a high-quality resolution, click on the gear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and then on 720hd.
There are still a lot of seabirds in the area: gulls, kittiwakes, common eiders, scoters, red-breasted mergansers, long-tailed ducks, Barrow’s and common goldeneye, bufflehead, black guillemots and a few common and red-throated loons.
Worth mentioning this morning (November 22), I also spot a magnificent white cross hydromedusa (Staurophora mertensi) near the ferry wharf in Les Escoumins! Recognizable by its cross-shaped stomach, the umbrella of this jellyfish has 200 to 300 short tentacles in the form of a corkscrew. It uses it to capture other jellyfish and small crustaceans on which it feeds.
Here are a few photos:
GREMM research assistant from 2003 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, Renaud Pintiaux is a passionate observer and photographer. Year round, whether from shore or on the water, he takes every opportunity to observe marine mammals and birds in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.