Yesterday’s surprise whale watch may be more surprising than first thought. We’ve been consistently seeing minke whales come in toward shore to feed on the near bait, balls, but on our little boat that could only make it out 3 miles, we didn’t get as close as we’d like to identify the animal.
One problem was that we saw a blow for the animal, something you don’t see usually with a minke. Then there was the matter of size (it was large for a minke) and finally, photos released today by Newport Landing Whale Watch shows markings on the back which appear to be lamprey bites, something more consistent with a sei whale:
But this photo looks alot more minke. The naturalists on the boat felt that the whale’s behavior was more consistent with a byrde’s whale, but the rostrum lacked the three ridges consistent with byrde’s, having only one like a fin, sei, or minke:
at the same time, the photos released show markings and configuration that seem minke.
The photos have been sent to the American Cetacean Society for analysis.
But, as it turns out, I may have seen a much rarer whale than I thought!