Sightings statistics June 2022 in São Miguel island

sightings june 2022

The first month of summer is now over and it is the month of changes in the biodiversity around São Miguel Island. While spring is the time of the big migratory baleen whales, summer is the time of the big pods of dolphins, and these differences can be seen in the monthly statistics of June.
As expected, the Top 5 of species observed in June of 2022 is composed by our 4 resident species, but the 4th place is actually occupied by our most sighted seasonal species of the summer.

Common dolphins are our most sighted species since ever and this month was not the exception. Around 80% of the times that we went out to the sea last month we’ve got to see our most famous and colorful resident species. Common dolphins are known to be widely distributed in the world, hence the name, and its curious behavior towards boats never disappoints.

Our second most sighted species last month was the sperm whale, our only resident species of whale that is considered the symbol of the Azores. Sperm whales were seen approximately 75% and most of these times in areas with around 1000 meters in depth. The preference for this depth is justified by their diet, since they feed on different species of squids that inhabit the depth of our oceans all around the world.

Bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins, the other two resident species in the Azores occupy the 3rd and 5th place respectively. Although sometimes seen together, these two species couldn’t behave more different from each other. While bottlenose dolphins are very curious, playful, and sometimes even acrobatic, Risso’s dolphin tend to be a little bit more shy, mysterious and maintain the distance from the boats.
With the waters starting to get warmer this also means some new species are arriving to the Azores. 

Atlantic spotted dolphins are a unique species of the Atlantic Ocean that arrives to the archipelago in the summer, coming from the western coast of Africa. This species made 50% of our sightings the last month and if everything goes as normal the spotted dolphins will stay in the podium of the most sighted species until the end of the summer. This dolphin is also the favorite species of many tourists, and biologists too, due to their active and curious behavior towards the boat.

Beaked whales and striped dolphins were seen 10% of the tours, each. The first ones are known to be the most enigmatic group of the cetaceans, with around 20 species all around the world, most of them we don’t know much about it, some were never seen alive, and others are still to be discovered. Here, in the Azores some beaked whales have already been identified so, being able to have a small insight on the lives of these mysterious animals it’s always a privilege. 

Striped dolphins are a small species of dolphin that is seen in offshore waters and the question if they are around the Azores all year round it’s still being debated.

Two species of baleen whales were still seen in June. Although we have more sightings of migratory whales in the peak of spring sometimes, we can also have some sightings in other times of the year, especially in June which is considered a transitional month between the spring species and the summer species. Humpback whale was seen two times and the fin whale only one time, both in the beginning of the month.

False killer whales were also seen just one time this last month, this is a species we see occasionally in the summer here in the Azores. Because it is not so often to see it here in the archipelago it’s always nice to spend some time in the company of these animals.

Not only we saw a high diversity of cetacean species in June, but most of the pods of dolphins we saw were quite big and full of babies. The summer months also mean the time for babies, this happens because the temperature of the waters is getting warmer, and the probability of small baby dolphins surviving is much higher than in colder waters. The groups of sperm whales were also seen sometimes with calves around them, this makes us extremely happy knowing that the populations that we have around São Miguel Island keep growing strong.

Let’s see what July as to offer us!

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