Cape Cod Marine Mammals

Please consider all images as copyrighted – thank you. Contact me for use… DEClapp
MA humpback
Most of the marine mammals seen in and around Cape Cod are Humpback Whales. It is for sure that these are the animals that support the very successful whale-watching businesses out out Gloucester, Boston, Plymouth, and Provincetown. Humpbacks are often at the surface and leap, splash, roll, and feed where we can observe them.
dolphin wh-sided – Version 4
Cape Cod Bay has Fin, Minke, and Right Whales as well as Humpbacks. Smaller marine mammals also frequent the area; this is a White-sided Dolphin, one of the more common species seen.
The whales (shown below) feed on various forage fish. In days gone by that would have included Mackerel, Menhaden, and various “herring”. Many, actually most, of these fishes gave been harvested beyond sensibility. These two herring are heading up a small fresh water stream to an inland pond to breed. The efforts to restore herring populations (on land) can easily be wiped out by large scale commercial fishing.
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The youngsters are of the most active but whales of all ages breach, tail-lob, and flipper slap. Fin and Minke Whales are poor photography subject and rarely perform or display. They simply swin past occasionally surfacing to breath.
Cape Cod whales, like many others, feed on forage fish. Around the world this could be herring, capelin, sardines, or sand launce. On Cape Cod it is usually the Sand Launce that attracts the largest number of whales. Humpbacks have a hugely expandable threat which gulps in water and fish, the water is then forced out through a fence of baleen that keeps the fish in as the water goes out.
humpback whale
Here is a look into the mouth of a Humpback Whale, past the baleen, at a few Sand Lance that will soon be part of this whale’s dietary intake

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