Posted by: Team - Bowhead whale | April 24, 2010

Bearded seals and kittiwakes

The bowhead whales have moved further offshore and we are returning in our goals and methods back to where we started which is to collect recordings and monitor the changes in the acoustic behavior of the whales.  The day was windy but with a 30 m long hydrophone cable from a dinghy parked on top of an ice plate we were able to make some very good quality recordings but it was impossible to work from the dinghy.

Listening station of Finn and Mads on a ice plate. Photo: T. Jørgensen

Therefore, we sailed west hoping to find some more singing whales and shelter behind icebergs and drift ice from the strong easterly wind. We found the calmest sea but heard no whales anymore. Instead, the recording equipment was overloaded by a concert of bearded seals Erignathus barbatus! This was a nice surprise since we have been missing the bearded seals in our recordings for the whole season. Most of the bearded seal calls are down sweep trills but we could hear that one male at least used an upward whistle as well. One seal came to the surface as well not too far from the boat accompanied by two curious ringed seals Phoca hispida. On this trip we saw also the first kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla of this year.

The totally flat sea of Davis Strait where under the surface the bearded seals were singing. Photo: T. Jørgensen



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