It’s getting colder offshore; the season is drawing to a close. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful, with regard to both the weather and marine mammal observations!
Many cruise companies have ended their season on a high note, including those in the Gaspé region. Off the coast of Forillon National Park, there were reports of about ten fin whales, between four and six humpback whales, and numerous harbour porpoises. According to one captain, tourists were able to witness “surface feeding performances” by humpbacks and fin whales. Food must have been plentiful at the surface. On another day, a peculiar behaviour was observed: a humpback diving and showing its tail every thirty seconds for almost an hour!
In Franquelin, our faithful collaborator has been seeing between two and four minke whales every day, as well as harbour porpoises. She also observed large spouts farther offshore over the weekend, but was unable to identify the species.
Fin whales appear to be still present off Tadoussac, with about five individuals scattered throughout the area. Zipper and Trou are amongst them. They were observed near the Prince Shoal Lighthouse this week. Other fin whales were in the Île Verte area and others off Les Escoumins. With regard to humpbacks, two individuals have remained in the Marine Park: the one-and-a-half-year-old Quill and another young individual. Both showed their tails when diving. The constant presence of harbour porpoises and minke whales delighted kayakers, pleasure boaters and cruise passengers. Belugas are still present in the mouth of the Saguenay: in most cases, females with their young. The cool fall temperatures make it easy to spot their spouts from afar! Captains have also been reporting large beluga gatherings in the area around Les Escoumins.
It was also a busy week for birdwatching, with ideal northwest winds for migration. Posted at the dunes, a collaborator from the Tadoussac Bird Observatory (OOT), tallied a combined total of more than 1,000 raptors passing overhead on Sunday and Monday! These are exceptional flights. On the water, it was the return of long-tailed ducks, which migrate from the Arctic tundra to the southern United States. A northern fulmar was also spotted off the dunes of Tadoussac last Sunday, blending in among hundreds of gulls.