Whales

Rare Right Whales Move into Area, Mariner Restrictions in Place

Eight North Atlantic right whales have been spotted near Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in the past week, including six sighted from the air on Feb. 15 swimming between the two islands. The other two were seen south of Nantucket.

Dead Whale Washes Ashore

A 13-foot pilot whale washed up on Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark over the long weekend. Adam Kennedy, a senior biologist at the New England Aquarium, said the whale was likely dead when it washed ashore.

Mr. Kennedy said the animal was discovered half-buried in the sand by the tides last Friday. Only its head and front fin were visible; the rest of its body was obscured. The conditions were “very unusual,” Mr. Kennedy said.

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A Baleen Ballet Dazzles in Local Waters

Until a week ago the waters off of Race Point in Provincetown were a pageant of marine life, with divebombing gannets, 80-foot fin whales slicing the surface, dolphins and porpoises circling like gnats and docile North Atlantic right whales skimming blithely by, mouths agape.

Deep Ocean Mystique

Last week several right whales were spotted off the Vineyard, and the Gazette ran a story about it. Of course any appearance of the endangered whales is highly unusual and newsworthy.

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Rare Right Whales Spotted off South Shore Beach; Experts Say Much Activity This Year

Early this week David Damroth was strolling Zack’s Cliffs in Aquinnah and gazed across the gulf to Noman’s Land when he saw an eruption from the water a mile and a half out. It was a double spout, a trademark of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. For the next 45 minutes he watched as at least three animals romped about the surface.

News Update: Tuesday, Feb. 14 - Whales, Wildlife Top List of Remaining Wind Farm Concerns

As the federal government presses ahead with plans to develop wind farms on a 1,300-square-mile plot of ocean south of the Vineyard, on Monday night the Island had its turn to have a say about it.

Representatives from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, accompanied by members of the Gov. Deval Patrick administration and Cape and Islands Rep. Timothy Madden, came to the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven Monday to solicit public comment as part of a call for information announced on Feb. 6.

whales

Big Rare Right Whales Return To Feed on Smallest Sea Snacks

This spring endangered Northern Atlantic right whales have been seen and photographed swimming in Vineyard waters. Marine scientists who monitor right whales, considered the rarest among marine mammals, reported seeing 57 whales off Noman’s Land and nearly a dozen south of the Vineyard two weeks ago. More than 200 whales, about half the known population, have been seen since January in Cape Cod Bay.

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Wind Forum Stirs Debate as Task Force Remains Skeptical

With Rhode Island Sound now looming as the next frontier for wind development near the Vineyard, the Ocean State’s Gov. Donald Carcieri summed up his state’s energy policy this month with a single phrase: “Spin, baby, spin!”

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Stranded Pygmy Whale Washes Up on Chappaquiddick Beach

Last Friday Skip Bettencourt was strolling the Chappaquiddick side of the Norton Point breach with his wife, his dog and two friends when he stumbled across six feet of bloodied blubber. With the tooth-studded lower jaw of a sperm whale and the pointed snout of a shark, the animal cut an outlandish profile.

“We had no idea what it was,” he said. “It looked like it hadn’t been there that long, though.”

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Scientists Study Bird, Sea Life Before Turbines Go Offshore

Wind farms have long provoked a certain cognitive dissonance among environmentalists, who favor renewable energy but oppose the negative impacts of turbines, including bird strikes and habitat displacement. The effects of turbines on bird populations are fairly well understood after a decade of European experience but less is known about their impact underwater, especially on local species of whales and sea turtles.

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