The Bay of Fundy has become a bit of a nursery as of late with the arrival of ten humpback mothers with their calves. The moms that have been identified are Foggy, Flash, Colorado, Mirage, Umbra, Eclipse and Teo. There were three whales that we have not been able to identify. Foggy is special to researchers at Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises as we watched her grow to adulthood since she was brought here as a calf by her mother whose name was Bermuda. This calf is the third born to Foggy; her first, Sparkler, was born in 2000 and her second, Motley, was born in 2003. Her 2007 calf will not be named until it makes its return to the Gulf of Maine after it leaves its mother.
Humpback whale calves are born in the Caribbean after a 12 month gestation. They drink about 50 gallons of milk from their mother, gaining several hundred pounds per week. They stay with their moms for about a year after they have been weaned at the Northern feeding grounds.
There has been plenty of other activity as well. We have seen the humpbacks move in a bit closer to Brier Island. On one occasion, which was a research cruise, we watched as 4 adult humpback whales surface fed on herring. They would blow a column of bubbles and lunge through it with their mouths agape, taking in several hundred pounds of fish with each gulp. Humpbacks are baleen whales and use those to filter the food out from the water, much like a sieve.
There were also some curious whales, such as Orion, who approached us and spy hopped next to the boat as if he was doing the watching! It is times like this that we wonder who is watching who?
Humpback whale named Orion spyhopping next to our whale watch boat.