Freitag, 29. Juli 2011
Mittwoch, 27. Juli 2011
What was supposed to be a dolphin swim turned out to become an extraordinary whale watching trip!
On a sunny morning in July we left the harbour in Lajes, where Frank recently opened a new shop. We are operating from both Madalena and Lajes now, the two largest cities on Pico Island.
Once on the water, we soon encountered a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis), which is endemic to the temperate and tropical areas of the Atlantic Ocean. We put the swimmers (two at a time) in the water and they had a really good time with the animals. After a while, one of our vigias got exciting news: He had spotted rare Northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus)! This species is also endemic to the North Atlantic Ocean and belongs to the group of the beaked whales (Ziphiidae).
Beaked whales are one of the least known groups of mammals because of their deep-sea habitat, mysterious habits, and apparent low abundance. It was hunted heavily in Norway and England, leaving an estimated population of approx. 10,000 animals.
We took off and approached them very slowly and carefully. There were four or five animals traveling together, showing impressive blows!
As we were aiming to continue the ‘dolphin swim’, we looked for some bottlenose dolphins due to the advices of the vigia. We found false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) instead! A few of the approximately 30 animals surrounded the boat, definitely very curios, and surfaced right next to the boat. One of the bigger males (they can grow up to 6 meters) even rubbed its belly against the boat- outstanding!
The False Killer Whale has not been extensively studied in the wild; much of the data about it has been derived by examining stranded animals.
We could not find any words to describe this very special encounter! It was the first time in 2011, that false killer whales were seen in the Azorean waters.
After all we had seen that day, we also found a pod of short finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), the second largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae).
Both false killer and pilot whales belong to Blackfish, which consists in 6 species of cetaceans (orca, long and short finned pilot whale, melon- headed whale, pygmy killer whale and false killer whale) They are commonly called whales but classified scientifically in the Delphinidae or oceanic dolphin family.
Four species in one trip, two rare sightings, close encounters – What an incredible day!
Book your dolphin contact with Pico Sport
Dienstag, 26. Juli 2011
Sonntag, 24. Juli 2011
Freitag, 22. Juli 2011
Freitag, 15. Juli 2011
Sowerby's beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens), aka North Atlantic beaked whale, is a slender cetacean that measures between 4-5 m in length and weighs between 900-1,100 kg. They have 2 teeth in the lower jaw that protrude in males. The dorsal fin is small and curved with a rounded tip. The flukes are dark in color and unnotched. The flippers of Sowerby's beaked whale are curved and relatively long compared to other Mesoplodon species. Sowerby's beaked whales are slate to blue-gray on the dorsal side, lighter on the ventral side with occasional gray or white spots.
Little is known about Sowerby's beaked whale, however some have been observed surfacing head first at a steep angle after which the animal spends about 1 minute breathing. They then dive for 10-15 minutes, and have been observed resurfacing up to 800 external link m away.
Beaked Whales (Family Ziphiidae)
These medium-sized to moderately large whales have a single pair of grooves on the throat. There is a distinct snout, and often the few teeth present are visible only in adult males.
These whales are deep divers and are rarely seen. Many species are known only from a few specimens, and little is known about the life history and biology of the group. All members of this family, except Blainville's beaked whale, are difficult to distinguish from each other, and study by museum experts is usually necessary for identification.
Based on data collected from strandings, Sowerby's beaked whale, Mesoplodon bidens, is found in temperate and subartic waters in the eastern and western North Atlantic.
Sowerby's beaked whale likely feeds on squid, octopus and fish.
Freitag, 1. Juli 2011
Every October Pico Sport Lda. travels to Patagonia for amazing wildlife travel opportunities! We have been visiting this special place for the last 19 years, and one of our main reasons to travel in October is the huge gathering of Southern Right whales in the area. From early June to the beginning of November, hundreds of right whales come near the shore to mate and breed. The largest concentration of whales in the area takes place in September and October. Besides the great opportunity to watch these animals, our trips also take you into interesting fishing villages, we visit Penguin colonies, have the chance to observe Commerson's dolphins and much more... Getting excited?!?! We still have some spaces available from the 9th-23rd of October! Contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
For more Patagonia photos also visit our Facebook page.
The children's initiative Plant-for-the-Planet was founded in January 2007 and originated from a school project on climate change by Felix Finkbeiner, then 9 years of age. In his project’s conclusion Felix developed the vision of children planting one million trees in each country worldwide thus creating a countermeasure to global carbon emissions. In the following years Plant-for-the-Planet grew into a global movement with currently about 100.000 children in over 100 countries engaged in the initiative. They see themselves as global citizens campaigning for climate justice, which in their eyes includes a total reduction of the emission of gases affecting the climate and the fair distribution of emission rights among all people.
On July 14th Rhino Watch Lodge is welcoming Felix and his Family in Kenya. We will have a children's academy with 500 children and a planting session of 200 trees patronized by Maisha Wirth and Rhino-Watch-Lodge, their local partner in Kenya. Rhino Watch Lodge will maintain a long time relationship with the children of the Plant-for-the-Planet and support their tree planting projects in the future.
Frank Wirth: "We are very honoured that our operation in Kenya has the opportunity to host this event and to become a partner of Plant-for-the-Planet. My daughter Maisha will do everything in her power to plant one million trees in Kenya. For each liter of fuel we burn in our Pico-based operation we will plant in Kenya. Everyone of you can help and donate a tree. You can also come to Kenya, visit Rhino Watch Lodge yourself and plant you own tree... Email us for more information."
See Felix's recent speech at the Launch Ceremony of the International Year of Forest 2011 in New York on February 2nd: http://plant-for-the-planet.org/videos
Also follow his Africa journey on their blog: http://blog.plant-for-the-plan