Whales reappear in Long Island Sound
Whales reappear in Long Island Sound A humpback whale breaches the water in Long Island Sound off the coast of Stamford, Conn. (Dan Lent via AP)
Whales reappear in Long Island Sound
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It has been the year of the whale on Long Island Sound, where fishermen and other boaters have reveled in the return of the marine mammals after a long hiatus.
 
The highly unexpected sightings began in May. Three belugas were spotted off Fairfield, Connecticut. A minke whale was seen off Norwalk later in May. And there have been several humpback sightings in recent weeks. One was as far west as Mamaroneck, New York. This is according to records kept by The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk.
 
Whales haven't been seen in the western part of the sound since 1993. That is when a 30-foot finback was spotted in New Haven Harbor, said Joe Schnierlein. He is research and university liaison for the aquarium.
 
Videos and photos of humpbacks breaching the surface have been posted online by boaters, who were both excited and frightened by the close encounters.
 
Chris Curran of Darien, Connecticut, caught a young humpback whale on cellphone video breaching the water about 20 to 30 feet from his boat. It was about a mile and a half off Darien and Norwalk. Curran was with his 8-year-old son and his son's friend.
 
Curran said the humpback appeared to be a young whale about 10 to 15 feet long. It came out of the water about nine times, the last time being the closest.
 
"I was having heart palpitations, I was so excited," Curran said. "The boys were fearful for their lives. They thought it was an orca. I was never concerned about it hitting the boat until that last incident. Then I got out of there fast."
 
The whales have been the talk of Long Island Sound. Warnings have been issued to boaters to watch for whales and try to stay at least 100 feet away from them. If a whale gets within 100 feet, boaters should put their engines in neutral and not re-engage them until the whales are clear of harm. Federal law protects marine mammals.
 
Schnierlein believes the whales were attracted by a big increase in bait fish. They include menhaden, which are rich in omega-3 oils and calories. He surmises menhaden have thrived for several reasons, including 2-year-old harvesting restrictions on them and a lack of rain. He believes little rain has reduced the amount of pollution-laden runoff that enters the sound.
 
Whale sightings in the eastern part of Long Island Sound also are uncommon events, according to records kept by Mystic Aquarium. The last confirmed sightings before this year were a long-finned pilot whale off Stonington in 2009 and a minke off Old Lyme in 2005, said Janelle Schuh, stranding coordinator at the aquarium.
 
Whales that have become stranded in the sound included a humpback that floated to Stonington on the edge of the sound from Rhode Island in July 2012, a fin whale in New Haven in 1993, long-finned pilot whales in Branford in 1991 and Madison in 1989, and a beluga whale in New Haven in 1986, Schuh said.
 
Daniel Lent of Easton, Connecticut, says he believes he saw two humpbacks Sept. 12 off the coast of Stamford. He snapped a photo of one breaching the water. He said it was about as big as his 27-foot boat.
 
"I thought I was staying away a safe distance," Lent said. "Then one came up behind me. That's when I freaked out. It went from being really cool to being really scary."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/whales-reappear-long-island-sound/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How has a change in the weather caused the whales to reappear?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (17)
  • michaely-6-bar
    10/05/2015 - 09:55 p.m.

    Change in the weather caused the whales to reappear is because the whales listen to other whales and communicate to other whales so they relocated. Whales that have become stranded in the sound included a humpback that floated to Stonington on the edge of the sound from Rhode Island in July 2012, a fin whale in New Haven in 1993, long-finned pilot whales in Branford in 1991 and Madison in 1989, and a beluga whale in New Haven in 1986, Schuh said. My opinion is im surprised how the whales are now coming back.

  • jamart-nar
    10/05/2015 - 11:06 p.m.

    Weather causes whales to reappear because when it's summer they will go to the warmer water.

  • theaw-4-bar
    10/05/2015 - 11:57 p.m.

    The change in weather has caused whales to reappear because the little rain that Long Island received. This has reduced the amount of pollution-laden runoff that enters the sound of menhaden, bait fish rich in omega 3 oils. The whales are attracted to these fish. I found this article interesting because I have gone swimming with whale sharks and I know how rare it is to spot one.

  • carsonk-2-bar
    10/06/2015 - 08:34 p.m.

    The weather change causes the whales to appear sometimes but they have not been sighted for a while now. But now they have been sighted due to the weather changes. "He believes little rain has reduced the amount of pollution-laden runoff that enters the sound." This article surprised me because its cool to see whales coming back to places due to weather changes. This is interesting because whales are a big creature and exciting to see them wildly exploring.

  • allyb-ver
    10/07/2015 - 07:41 p.m.

    It would be really cool to see a whale in long island. Whale you won't think you would see a whale in the new England states. If I saw a whale I would be amazed because whales are so big.

  • seanj-ver
    10/09/2015 - 02:39 p.m.

    Whales are cool. that is a long time since they saw a whale

  • sebastianr-6-bar
    10/19/2015 - 09:55 p.m.

    Changes in weather caused whales to reappear because Long Island didn't receive a lot of rain. Also the whales are attracted to bait fish which led them to a different location. I think this article is interesting because whales are a rare animal to see in the water and it is cool to see them exploring.

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