Thousands of beluga whales, video

This video says about itself:

23 November 2015

Season 16 Episode 2: Drone Art

Arctic Watch photographer Nansen Weber undertook the mission of filming on the Northwest Passage with the use of a drone.

Nansen spent four weeks filming at Arctic Watch and around Somerset Island. This video aims to share some of the magical wonders of the Northwest Passage – the beluga congregation of Cunningham Inlet, the polar bears living in the environment and the unique landscapes of this hidden gem in Canada.

Nansen Weber is the first to film high Arctic wildlife with the use of a drone.

Shot uniquely on the coast of Somerset Island, this video showcases one of the last beluga nurseries on earth – Cunningham Inlet. Nearly two thousand whales congregate annually within this inlet.

Whales and their parasites, new study

This video from the USA says about itself:

Parasite Found In House Cats Showing Up In Arctic Whales

15 February 2014

Researchers believe an influx of house cats to the Arctic is responsible for the spread of Toxoplama gondii to whales.

From Parasitology Research:

23 November 2015

Endoparasite survey of free-swimming baleen whales (Balaenoptera musculus, B. physalus, B. borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using non/minimally invasive methods

Carlos Hermosilla, Liliana M. R. Silva, Sonja Kleinertz, Rui Prieto, Monica A. Silva, Anja Taubert


A number of parasitic diseases have gained importance as neozoan opportunistic infections in the marine environment. Here, we report on the gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna of three baleen whale species and one toothed whale: blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), and sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the Azores Islands, Portugal. In total, 17 individual whale fecal samples [n = 10 (B. physalus); n = 4 (P. macrocephalus); n = 2 (B. musculus); n = 1 (B. borealis)] were collected from free-swimming animals as part of ongoing studies on behavioral ecology.

Furthermore, skin biopsies were collected from sperm whales (n = 5) using minimally invasive biopsy darting and tested for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Besnoitia besnoiti DNA via PCR. Overall, more than ten taxa were detected in whale fecal samples. Within protozoan parasites, Entamoeba spp. occurred most frequently (64.7 %), followed by Giardia spp. (17.6 %) and Balantidium spp. (5.9 %). The most prevalent metazoan parasites were Ascaridida indet. spp. (41.2 %), followed by trematodes (17.7 %), acanthocephalan spp., strongyles (11.8 %), Diphyllobotrium spp. (5.9 %), and spirurids (5.9 %).

Helminths were mainly found in sperm whales, while enteric protozoan parasites were exclusively detected in baleen whales, which might be related to dietary differences. No T. gondii, N. caninum, or B. besnoiti DNA was detected in any skin sample. This is the first record on Giardia and Balantidium infections in large baleen whales.

Pilot whales asphyxiated by eating flatfish

This video is called Long-Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas).

From PLOS one:

Fatal Asphyxiation in Two Long-Finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas) Caused by Common Soles (Solea solea)

November 18, 2015


Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) are rare visitors to the southern North Sea, but recently two individual strandings occurred on the Dutch coast. Both animals shared the same, unusual cause of death: asphyxiation from a common sole (Solea solea) stuck in their nasal cavity. This is a rare cause of death in cetaceans. Whilst asphyxiation has been reported in smaller odontocetes, there are no recent records of this occurring in Globicephala species.

Here we report the stranding, necropsy and diet study results as well as discuss the unusual nature of this phenomenon. Flatfish are not a primary prey species for pilot whales and are rarely eaten by other cetaceans, such as harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), in which there are several reports of asphyxiation due to airway obstruction by soles. This risk may be due to the fish’s flexible bodies which can enter small cavities either actively in an attempt to escape or passively due to the whale ‘coughing’ or ‘sneezing’ to rid itself of the blockage of the trachea.

It is also possible that the fish enter the airways whilst the whale is re-articulating the larynx after trying to ingest large, oddly shaped prey. It is unlikely that the soles entered the airways after the death of the whales and we believe therefore that they are responsible for the death of these animals.

North Sea, Scotland, Iceland wildlife highlights

This video is called Barrow’s goldeneye (species of duck found in northwestern USA).

In Europe, Barrow’s goldeneyes live only in Iceland.

This blog has already posted about a sea journey, from Iceland to the Faeroe islands, to Fair Isle and the Isle of May in Scotland, across the North Sea to Zeeland province in the Netherlands. This was 19-28 September 2015.

Highlights of that journey were:

Barrow’s goldeneyes, harlequin ducks, great northern divers, gyrfalcons, ptarmigan and northern lights in Iceland.

13 species of marine mammals, including:

30 fin whales
9 humpback whales
1 blue whale
25 orcas


10,000’s of fulmars
60 sooty shearwaters
25 storm petrels
Blyth’s reed warbler, common rosefinch and yellow-browed warblers during landing on Fair Isle
Yellow-browed warbler at sea and on board the ship

North Sea, Scotland, Iceland wildlife video

This video shows a sea journey, from Iceland to the Faeroe islands, to Fair Isle and the Isle of May in Scotland, across the North Sea to Zeeland province in the Netherlands. This was 19-28 September 2015. Ms Neeltje Groot-Schamp made this video.

It shows birds, whales and dolphins encountered on that voyage.

Whale calf off Spanish coast

This 11 November 2015 video shows a fin whale calf swimming off the coast of Barcelona.

From The Local in Spain:

Amazing footage of lost whale calf swimming off Barcelona beach

Published: 12 Nov 2015 10:20 GMT+01:00

People taking a stroll along Barcelona’s beach were in for a surprise on Tuesday, when they spotted a whale just off the shore.

The finback whale, which measured around 10 metres (33 feet) long, was spotted on Tuesday between the beaches of Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià.

“It was a very emotional moment,” Miquel Roigé, a surfer who spent around an hour paddling close to the whale on his board, told La Vanguardia.

“I love marine life and I’ve seen dolphins before but never a whale,” he added.

The whale made his appearance at around 4pm on Tuesday.

It is the first time an animal of that size has reached a Catalan port, confirmed sources from Catalonia’s Marine Animal Rescue Network.

Experts from the network were deployed to the scene, where they witnessed the whale swimming in the port, close to the tourist cruise ship terminal.

The animal had spent the night close to a freight terminal in the port. Towards midday, they had managed to coax the whale towards the southern exit of the port, where he swam away past the beach.

Surfer Miquel Roigé, who runs the paddle centre Moloka’i SUP, admitted the experience “great” but also “sad, because the calf was completely alone, outside its habitat”.

Experts were monitoring the whale on Wednesday to check if it was ill, or just disorientated.

Pilot whales near Dutch coast, videos

This video shows a pod of 7 or 8 long-finned pilot whales, in the North Sea, near Scheveningen, in The Hague in the Netherlands, on 28 October 2015.

Here is another video about that pod.

And here yet another video.