Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stellwagen Bank

Stellwagen Bank yielded some new species for me, and one familiar species. The familiar species was the humpback whale, which I've seen on a whale watch and from my grandparents' boat. Seeing a humpback is a very different experience from a triple-decker behemoth compared to a 35 foot sailboat. The minke whale and the far off fin whale were new to me, and I enjoyed hearing about each species.

My favorite new species, however, wasn't in the ocean: it was above it. The dark birds with white rumps and dashes of white on the wings swooping around just above the surface were Wilson's storm petrels. They are pelagic birds, and unless you're out on the open ocean, say, on a whale watch, you won't see them (unless you make it out to their breeding grounds along Antarctic coasts). They move like swallows above the water. My parents don't like it when I see new bird species before they do, and I"m guessing this will rival the great pileated woodpecker incident of '08.

I was planning to ruminate on the whale vs. striped bass sustainability question, but it looks like that's for the final.

Thanks to everyone for a great class!

Thanks for a great class!

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