Ti-Croche, Artiste and a minke whale in the air

  • Les petits rorquals ont surpris par leur nombre et leurs comportements exubérants. // The minke whales surprised us with their number and their exuberant behaviors. © Renaud Pintiaux
    05 / 06 / 2018 Par Renaud Pintiaux

    A look back at the observations of the last two weeks off Tadoussac.

    At the end of May, it was the minke whales that stole the show. We note the gradual arrival of more and more individuals at the head of the Laurentian Channel. On May 24, a minke whale was observed feeding near the surface not far from the ferries linking Baie-St-Catherine and Tadoussac. We then see a part of its fluke coming out of the water and I can then recognize an individual well-known in the sector nicknamed Artiste. The notch on her fluke is one of its distinguishing features.

    No, it is not an orca! It is rather Artiste’s half fluke emerging from the water. © Renaud Pintiaux

    On May 27, I counted 8 minke whales in the mouth of the Saguenay (sometimes very close to shore, as we can see in the picture) or further offshore.

    © Renaud Pintiaux

    On the same day, still in the mouth of the Saguenay River, a minke whale launches into the air a few times. I have time to take some pictures of this impressive show.

    Because, really, this day spoiled us, here we are off Tadoussac, near buoy K55. We spot two great spouts and as we approach we can observe two fin whales (my first this season!) moving side by side. I take several shots of their chevrons and dorsals. I send these photos to GREMM researchers who can identify these two individuals: Bp918 and Bp955!

    And thanks to the work of identification, we learn then a very moving news… Ti-Croche was observed and photographed the first time in 2009 and it was then the calf of a female fin whale well known here: Capitaine Crochet! She hasn’t been seen since June 2013, she probably died due to her entanglement in a crab-fishing gear.

    Capitaine Crochet was often the first fin whale observed in the spring off Tadoussac and Ti-Croche took over. It brings hope…

    A minke whale at dusk. © Renaud Pintiaux

    Note the arrival of thousands of terns offshore along the current bars. These migrants are only here for a short period of time so let’s enjoy it!

    A stern © Renaud Pintiaux

    Well, it feels like summer! © René Pintiaux

    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.