The Great Escape

Sunday morning’s discussion covered more on group living in dolphins. We discussed coefficients of associations, the role of kinship and trends among first time dolphin mothers. During our photo-ID lab, we ID’d Tina (#14), Cleopatra (#41), Nemo (#76) and un-named #25 from yesterday’s trip. There are still three animals that need to be identified from our photographs. As we heard the wind howling outside our classroom, we were all concerned that we would not be able to head on our dolphin survey.

But, at boat time, we were greeted by the calmest conditions thus far for the Sacred Heart University course. We definitely felt the strength of the sun, but the glass flat water made it worth it. Our first sighting was of a lone (or what appeared to be) bottlenose dolphin. We got dorsal fin shots, but also an image of a serious peduncle scar. Tomorrow, we’ll work on seeing if we can find a match with an animal already in the catalog. Later, our first signal of more dolphins was a leaping mackerel! We saw foraging behaviors, including fast chasing and leaping. We even saw a couple of the dolphins catch the fish. We saw one animal regurgitate, with its head down and body wiggling and what appeared to be a whole fish. There were some big aerials and fluke slapping and fluke out dives. We saw White Blotch (#29) and a young female juvenile we suspect is her older calf (aka Lil’ Dot). We also saw Romeo (#10) and possibly Cleopatra (#41). Our surveys thus far have been filled with several resightings of dolphins, but different overall group composition.

Our evening was pretty quiet, but we enjoyed another dockside BBQ. Most of us enjoyed the fresh dolphin – even one of us who tried it for the first time!

More tomorrow,

The SHU Crew