February 28: from his “lookout” – i.e. the porch of his house – a member of the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM) team in Tadoussac spots two belugas at the mouth of the Fjord and calls his colleagues at the Centre to notify them that the white whales are heading in their direction. Binoculars in hand, his enthusiastic colleagues eagerly await the belugas’ arrival. And then there they are: two “whitecaps” stand out from the dark waters of the Saguenay. On March 2, off Les Bergeronnes, about 30 belugas are seen: white adults and a few young grays.

Farther east in the Côte-Nord region, our collaborator from Franquelin notes the presence of two harp seals basking on the pack ice on February 28. This “field” of ice will disappear in the days that follow, pushed out by the winds and the tide. The newly ice-free waters welcome a sizable visitor: a blue whale!

Indeed, on March 5, a blue whale is seen 500 m from our observer’s “backyard”. “It’s one of the closest I’ve ever seen. Through my binoculars, it was ENORMOUS!”, she exclaims. On the blue-gray “mountain” she is scrutinizing, she makes out the mosaic of spots, the size and shape of the dorsal fin and the two bumps of flesh forming the blowhole: all characteristic elements of the blue whale. The animal remains in the area 20 minutes before heading west. Farther offshore, another large spout appears. A second rorqual is present at the same time.

A blue whale is also spotted in Godbout on March 5. Is it the same individual as the one seen in Franquelin? Is it Slash, identified the previous week in Godbout, still lingering in the area? The mystery persists.

Observation of the Week - 9/3/2017

Marie-Sophie Giroux

Marie-Sophie Giroux joined the GREMM in 2005 until 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a diploma in Environmental Consulting. As Lead Naturalist, she oversees and coordinates the team working at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre and writes for Whales Online and Whale Portraits. She loves to share “whale stories” with visitors to the CIMM and readers alike.

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