Posted by: Team - Bowhead whale | May 25, 2010

Summer is here

It is fair to say that summer is here when the first moss campions Silene acaulis are flowering! On a walk by the coast on a look out for whales we saw this little flower between ice and snow. Luckily Mads had his mobile phone with his so we could get a picture of it.

Moss campion Silene acaulis flowering! Photo: M. Christoffersen

Later that day we sailed out hoping to see and maybe even hear the last bowhead whales. A local hunter, Steen Zeeb, had seen bowhead whales outside Kuannit, north east from the town. We didn´t find any bowhead whales but as soon as we passed the southern tip of Qaqqaliaq a large group of harp seals Phoca groenlandicus jumped out of the water like dolphins right in front of our dinghy. This can only be observed in the summer and the Greenlandic call a group like this an amisut. After closer inspection we could see the surface boiling from little fishes, maybe of capelin Mallotus villosus, a little schooling fish from the salmon family. This little fish comes to spawn on the beaches of Disko Island in June and it is an important food resource for  marine mammals and birds as well as for humans and dogs.

Harp seals and kittiwakes were busy dining on the capelin. Photo: O. Tervo

Half and hour of listening with hydrophones gave no sounds of bowheads and we planned to head home. On the way back we spotted two blows close to the shore and they happened to come from the first humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae of this summer. The humpbacks as well as the seals were bysy fishing spending only little time at the surface.

The first humpback whale of the season. Photo: O. Tervo

Nature had told us "summer" is here! Photo: M. Chistoffersen


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