São Miguel’s waters are filled with energy and this week during our tours we observed lots of socializing activity among dolphins and whales.
The summer time is the breeding season for the dolphins and some species like the Atlantic spotted dolphins, come closer to the coast of São Miguel to mate and give birth to calves. Throughout the summer of 2010 TERRA AZUL gave the chance to many people observe frequent socializing behaviour associated with mating.
Male dolphins can be seen breaching out of the water for courtship display, but they can also be seen swimming after females in the attempt to mate with them, sometimes even harassing them.
Definitely summer is not over for the dolphins as on the 22nd of September a large group of Atlantic spotted dolphins comprising adults, juveniles and calves was seen socializing and quite few individuals were very active and in search of partners.
Socializing is not only a question to find a mate, it is also an important behaviour among members of the same group and between mothers and calves. The physical contact between the two is very important and helps to strengthen the bond.
An intimate behaviour like nursing was witnessed on the 21st of September between a female sperm whale and her calf.
The mother was seen rolling halfway on her body showing the belly. This behaviour when performed in the presence of calves may be considered connected with nursing. The calf, which is not visible at surface, approaches the mother in the genital area where are the nipples to suckle milk.
In the picture below the female was seen together with two young individuals and the one visible may not be necessary her calf.
Other species encountered this week were the Risso’s, common, bottlenose and striped dolphins.
However, the sperm whale once again drove our attention as they were breaching on several occasions.
Breaching whales are always spectacular to watch, just have a look in our blog www.terrazulazores.com/diariodebordo