MONTEREY (CBS SF) – Whale watchers in Monterey came across something, very rare, and they have the drone video to prove it.
They spotted a pod of Baird’s beaked whales.
Marine biologist Nancy Black owns Monterey Bay Whale Watch, a company that year-round boat tours to observe whales and other marine wildlife.
“They’re pretty rare!” says Black. “They have a really bulbous forehead and a really long snout.”
Baird’s beaked whales are shy and usually found far out at sea. Black says this is one of the largest pods ever recorded, and they weren’t even looking for them.
“No, we weren’t looking for them at all. We were looking for humpback whales and dolphins which happened to be in that same area,” says Black.
The giant beaked whales may have come up the deep Monterey Canyon, following food. They eat squid, octopus, mackerel, sardines, and deep-sea fish, and can stay under water for nearly half an hour before coming back up for air.
Black says only a drone could have captured such intriguing images.
“We were lucky because we do use a drone,” she says. “Whales can’t even hear it. They don’t even know it’s there, so it’s a very non-invasive way to study the whales.”
Black also has unusual video of killer whales playing chase with seabirds too full from eating fish to fly. She says the mother Orca is teaching her young one to hunt.
“And the mother’s teach them — kinda playful thing to do but not so fun for the bird because they tossed the bird around, batted the bird around, and then one of the killer whales came up with its mouth and pulled it under, like a cat playing with a mouse.”
Black says the drone has opened up a completely new way to study whales, especially shy, rarely seen species like these Baird’s beaked whales.
Marine experts say they are the most mysterious whales in the sea.