On Monday we welcomed the new incoming student course from New York. We were thrilled meet the Hunter College & Manhattan College students, as well as their professors. We introduced the students to the DCP still cameras and slates, given them instructions and pointers on collecting images for photo-ID. All three of us were able to join this large group on the boat today! The researchers, DCP and NYC-alike, were eager to collect videos and sound recordings with the assistance of the students. We all set out and first sighted something in the water and turned the boat around to see something dark at the surface. It was turned out to be ink clouds from a squid! The students were kept busy, spotting some flying fish from the bow, while we all searched for dolphins.
We had our first dolphin sighting an hour after leaving the harbor. We saw four bottlenose dolphins including, we suspect, Tt#s 01, 14 and 35. We had an encounter with them but they did not stay in view for very long. We did get a chance to confirm that they were crater feeding, though we also saw lots of contact behavior between the pair we observed under water. Later, we found seven spotted dolphins including four calves. The dolphins were scattered, making an accurate group count very difficult. The group was feeding, so we were mindful to not disrupt this important business. Still, we were able to make some underwater observations, during which time we identified Buster (#04), Tim (#69) and possibly Niecey (#48) in the group. The calves were bow riding and we even saw a fish being tossed between a couple of dolphins. The spotted dolphins were playing with sargassum and gave some fluke slaps. It was a great day full of excitement and dolphins leaping. Everyone was able to record great video and acoustic data. We’re all looking forward to having a great week of dolphin observations with this student group.
All that splashes,
Ellyne, Kel & Kali