On Wednesday morning, I visited the students and gave a talk on photo-ID; why it is important and how it is done. They are a great group and I hope they enjoyed my visit as much as I did. Thursday brought another opportunity for me to join the visiting researcher & student group. So far, 2016 has been a high-return year! Only 27 minutes into the dolphin trip we came upon feeding bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins off Bimini tend to be less interactive with boats and humans than the spotteds – whether this is shyness, fear or indifference, I don’t know. But, when the bottlenose are “crater feeding,” or searching for and digging out prey from the sand, they are often quite tolerant of us observing them. Today was one of those days! For over an hour we watched as the dolphins, including at least one youngster, feasted on sand-loving creatures. At one point, we even watched one dolphin disrupt an animal, which then tried to swim to the surface before being chased down and eaten. The question is: what was this animal? It was very long, narrow and appeared to have a banded coloration pattern. I did not realize a bottlenose would eat an eel (?) that long! This one sure did!
Underwater visibility began to deteriorate, so we boarded the boat and headed in search of clearer waters and different dolphins. Though we didn’t find any more dolphins, everyone was quite pleased with our hungry bottlenose day!
Until next time,