Trip 6: July 18 — July 27
By Liah McPherson
After enduring some rough weather earlier in the season, Trip 6 of our 2017 field season was a dream! We ran into part of our Southern group near Grand Bahama- Naia was with her little calf Nala, accompanied by Venti, Flotsam and Vivid. Down in Bimini we had a few great encounters with a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins that were displaying courtship behavior, herding a female dolphin named Mila. Interestingly enough, there were quite a few of our original Little Bahama Bank dolphins hanging out with the Bimini guys. This large group was seen on three consecutive days, and ranged from 19 to 25 individuals. We got a lot of great ID shots!
Two juvenile Bimini dolphins, Zeke and Evren, were also seen on two separate occasions, foraging and crater feeding on the bottom. During this feeding technique, dolphins scan the bottom using echolocation to locate fish burrowed in the sand. When they find one, they lunge their rostrum into the seafloor where the fish was sensed and grab it. We observe this feeding tactic more often with bottlenose dolphins, but Zeke and Evren seemed quite competent!
Active dolphins, beautiful sunsets and good company made Trip 6 a memorable ten days.