Archive for the 'Sea mammals' Category

sept 15 2008

A mink whale in the purse seine

During the fishery for herring in the northern part of Norway this year, a purse seiner got an unusual catch. As the crew was hauling the seine they saw a mink whale swimming along with the herring. It was a young whale estimated to weigh about 5-6 tonnes.

Mink whale

Neither the fishermen nor the whale thought it was appropriate for the whale to be in the seine. One of the fishermen, Thor-Stein Løvås, therefor found a long fishing gaff and started to tear a hole in the seine. The young mink whale seamed to know what was going on and swam towards the fisherman.

Mink whale waiting for a hole in the seine

The wale waited patiently, without any sign of panic, while the fishermen made the hole bigger.

Mink whale in a purse seine

The mink whale found the hole in the net, and had no problems finding its way out of the purse seine. The last picture shows the whale swimming away from the fishing vessel.

mink whale

All photos: Thor-Stein Løvås

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sept 10 2008

A dead giant in the Norwegian Sea – A sperm whale

Published by under Sea mammals

In July-August Norwegian scientists had a survey in the Norwegian Sea. The commercial fishing vessel «Eros» was hired for the survey. One of their tasks was to «count whales» as this is one of the methods used to estimate the seize of the different stocks of whales. During the survey they saw a lot of seabirds gathering on the surface. Approaching the birds is became clear that the birds were feeding on a carcass of a big sperm whale.

sperm whale

The birds had a special interest in the tongue that was floating between the jaws. The sperm whale is said to have the biggest brain of all mammals and it is also the biggest of the toothed whales. The picture below shows a part of the lower jaw.

Teeth of a sperm whale

The pictures were taken by Øyvind Tangen

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mar 10 2008

Humpback whales in the Antarctic Ocean

Published by under Sea mammals

Here are two more photos from the Antarctic Ocean. The Norwegian research vessel «G.O.Sars» continues its survey in the south. A couple of days ago the vessel got company. Two curious humpback whales approached the vessel and started to circled around it.

Humback whal

The humpback whale is a baleen whale, and known to be a singing whale. The research vessel uses sonar to examine the bottom and to register fish and krill. The whales can hear the sound from the sonar, and the curious whales may have been attracted by these strange sounds. As you can see the humpback whales came real close.Humpback whales

Photos: Øyvind Tangen

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feb 08 2008

Scared by a dolphin. The Norwegian Flipper.

One day in 2001 I was out fishing in my small boat. Suddenly I heard a strange sound. I thought it came from the outboard motor. I sat only 20 cm. from the motor. I looked at it, but I could not see any smoke or signs of problems.

Then I heard it again – the same loud, whistling sound – almost like a fart. I turned around and my eyes fell on something big rising from the water one meter behind me. The thing was moving, and I remember that my heart almost stopped for a second. Then I understood what it was. It was the bottlenose dolphin (Flipper) that had been visiting the area for a couple of years.

Flipper. The Norwegian dolphin.

Flipper was 3,5 meters long and on the photo above he was so close that I had to stand up and move forwards in the boat in order to see the whole dolphin in the camera lens. Later that summer I saw Flipper several times.

Below you can see Flipper and a local fisherman in the harbor in 2002. It was then obvious that Flipper had been hit by a propeller. He had big scares on his head/neck. He had become thinner and he was not as lively as he used to be. This was the last time I saw him.

The Norwegian dolphin Flipper.

Petting a dolphin.

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