Whether on a boat, at the docks or on shore, the echos of blowing whales can be heard. From humpback whales to Atlantic white-sided dolphins, many observers were greeted by the sounds of cetaceans this week.

What a surprise to spot a giant of the seas in Saint-Siméon… on Halloween! A humpback whale came to breathe near the marina, the sound of its exhalations startling a few passers-by… The next day, in barely an hour, one observer was lucky enough to see a whole parade of marine mammals: belugas, humpbacks, minke whales, seals and harbour porpoises. “One would’ve needed several pairs of eyes to see everything on the peaceful river this morning,” she writes. “It was awesome.”

At Cap-à-l’Aigle’s Port de Refuge in La Malbaie, a minke whale seems to have taken up residence for the week. On a few occasions, it could even be observed feeding near the docks. The adept swimmer performed a few spectacular manoeuvres on the surface, even breaching on occasion. Minke whales feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish. A harbour seal has also been frequenting the area, much to the delight of regulars who come to observe the river, marine mammals and birds.

Cetaceans and seabirds

On November 1, amateur cetologist René Roy set sail on his boat. He lists the animals he was able to observe on his 90-nautical-mile journey through the Estuary: “[…] minke whales, good numbers of harbour porpoises and grey seals as well as about twenty white-sided dolphins off Matane. But it was seabirds that were present in particularly large numbers yesterday. Northern fulmars and lots of puffins, but my real favourites are those cute little dovekies. […]” In a video shared by the enthusiast on his social networks, one can hear the exhalations of white-sided dolphins.

Two or three humpback whales were present for several days in the Franquelin sector. According to one marine mammal admirer: “It was a day of stiff winds and breaches! Humpbacks were putting on a show close to shore at various locations near Franquelin. They were at least two, if not three in the sector. A breathtaking and unforgettable experience! Hearing their powerful blasts resonate amongst the boulders and mountains was fantastic!”

Return of harp seals

Harp seals are back in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park sector. Individuals from the Northwest Atlantic population carry out seasonal migrations and spend summers in their feeding grounds. A few harbour seals are in the area, not to mention the occasional grey seal here and there.

Minke whales and belugas have been seen regularly at the mouth of the Saguenay, harbour porpoises were spotted offshore and about fifty white-sided dolphins were reported. The fin whale Orion also made an appearance this week, as did a humpback whale near Île Rouge.

Mariner Jacques Gélineau sums up his observations over the past week: “In Sept-Îles, I identified 4 humpbacks, 1 fin whale and two minke whales. In the Port-Cartier sector, I had grey seals and harbour seals.”

In Gaspésie, minke whales, harbour porpoises and seals are still present in Gaspé Bay. Two humpbacks were also observed.

Observation of the Week - 3/11/2022

Andréanne Forest

Andréanne Forest is the editor-in-chief of Whales Online since may 2022. After studying in environment and biology, she turned to science communication with the goal of making science both accessible and fun. Andréanne wishes to highlight the process of acquiring knowledge while transmitting the desire to learn.

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