Plastic cups. Beer cans. Balloons. Bilge…That’s what we usually encounter in our corner of Long Island Sound just north of New York City. But who knew “junk” fish (bunker) could be so attractive?
Dan Reiner gets the scoop: LOHUD The Journal News (July 25, 2016—all photos from that report):
Humpback Whale Seen Off New Rochelle
New Rochelle resident Dan Rogers headed out with some friends on a fishing trip Thursday morning, with hopes of catching some blue fish in the Long Island Sound. Around 1:30 p.m., he got an unexpected visitor several yards from his boat, when a humpback whale breached its head.
“It was kind of wild,” Rogers said Friday. “There was a ton of bait fish out there yesterday. They were getting attacked by blue fish and the whale came in and started feeding on the bait fish.”
Rogers was fishing in the Sound between the New Rochelle shore and Execution Rocks Light. Some boaters followed the whale at a distance as it continued to feed and breach for air, he said.
The Coast Guard sent out a radio transmission Thursday warning boaters to stay at least 100 yards away from the whale. [Oh, ya think?] On Friday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York said no further details were available.
“We have sightings around Long Island all the time for different species of whales,” said Valentina Sherlock, program coordinator at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation. She said it’s hard to tell if whales commonly enter the waters near Westchester due to a lack of citizen reporting.
“You are going to see in the coming years — a lot more effort into whale monitoring if people continue reporting,” she said. Westchester’s most recent whale sighting had been last September, when a humpback made its way through New Rochelle and Larchmont.
Anthony Lalli, a New Rochelle resident and fisherman of 35 years, described two whale sightings in one year as “unbelievable.” Last week, he said, a large sea turtle swam up alongside his fishing boat, also near Execution Rocks Light. Lalli pointed to clean-up efforts in the Sound as a possible reason for the increase in marine activity.
On Friday, the whale was reported to be seen headed east on the Sound toward northern Westchester and Connecticut. 🙂 🙂
Crazy, right? New Yorkers think they’ve seen everything! Best to you, dWW 🙂
Still trying to come to grips with sinking Tangiers, now a humpback eating bunkers — sensational stuff! Perhaps a wikipedia correction is in order — “Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed….”
The polar sound — who knew?
Haha, Michael! That’s an excellent idea. But maybe this one is migrating to tropical NYC waters to breed? Or see “Hamilton.” Thanks for visiting!! Hope your summer is going great… hi to Julie 😀
In every sense! Still can’t believe it’s real. Enjoy your summer, Pit! J&A
Yeah, ya think?? But they need to spell it out, don’t they? I’m glad this guy got in some good fishing, respectable publicity, and got out unscathed. Here’s to many more sightings!
LOL, we had a record number of bunker this summer. The water was BOILING with them. According to Tom Anderson in This Fine Piece Of Water, the LI Sound was just as teaming with WHALES—around 1600. Great book.. you’d enjoy it. Publisher’s summary here: Long Island Sound is not only the most heavily-used estuary in North America, it is also one of the most beautiful waterways, with picturesque seascapes and landfalls. But centuries of pollution and other abuse have gradually been killing off its marine life and have pushed the Sound to the brink of disaster. This volume traces the history of the Sound and its use as a resource from the time of contact between the Native Americans and Dutch traders through the suburban sprawl of recent decades, and tells how a group of scientists and citizens has been working to save the Sound from ruin. Tom Andersen begins by describing the dramatic events of the summer of 1987, when a condition called hypoxia (lack of dissolved oxygen in the water brought about by a combination of pollution and other factors) killed large numbers of fish and lobsters in the Sound. He discusses how scientists first documented and explained the development of hypoxia and how research and cleanup are now being carried out to restore the Sound. Interweaving current events, natural history and human history, Andersen presents a cautionary tale of exploitation without concern for preservation.
That sounds like a good book…my mother grew up in Port Washington, back in the 30’s. She remembered the horsehoe crabs especially well. Well, they’re not going anywhere too soon, right?
Oh, I hope the horseshoe crabs will continue for another several million years. We did see many of them, in recent years, dead on the beaches… heard it was a disease peculiar to them vs pollution, however. Saw many hearty ones this year!
AMAZING! Thanks for sharing this with the stunning images.
We wanted to see the whale in person… but then, we also hoped that we wouldn’t!!