Strange whale in Mount Stewart

For the past 4 weeks there has been a strange whale feeding near the bridge over the Hillsborough River in Mount Stewart:

A strange whale watching location – Mount Stewart

Why is this whale strange? Well, it’s a beluga whale for one thing, and beluga whales are vagrants here, meaning they are very occasional visitors, not commonly seen around Prince Edward Island. Then there’s the strange location this whale has chosen to ‘hang out’ for no less than 5 weeks and counting. Mount Stewart is located way up river, not along the coast where you’d expect to see a whale every now and then. Then there’s the fact that this particular beluga has a huge hump on its neck/back, it’s like a humpback beluga, it looks very different from the other vagrant belugas I’ve seen in the last few weeks.

Humpback beluga in Mount Stewart, Prince Edward Island

A local I spoke to at Laurie’s Country Kitchen expects the whale to stay until the end of June, as it is feeding on small fish (gaspereau) that have to pass through this bottleneck section of the river to get to sea. The beluga is just waiting for them at the bridge and feeding with relatively little effort.

So it turns out this strange whale is actually a smart whale, slowly turning into somewhat of a celebrity as it draws in a daily crowd, you can even get beluga whale cookies at the In The Mix Bakery (just down the road):

Beluga whale cookies – In The Mix Bakery, Mount Stewart

Let me know if the whale is still there when you go to see it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Young foxes playing in the yard

This week our deck is home to a family foxes, we often see them playing right outside our window:

Family of red foxes outside our living room window

Red fox cuddle

The 4 kits are most active in the hours around sunset, but sometimes they spend a few minutes chasing each other through the yard during the day too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Seal pup in Souris Harbour

Over the past 10 days, a seal pup has been seen napping and scooting around on the ice in Souris. Here’s a picture from yesterday morning:

Seal pup on the ice – Souris

Just look at those big soulful eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

Preparing for winter

Yesterday I stumbled upon this chipmunk preparing for winter:

Eastern chipmunk – Prince Edward Island

Cute little bugger isn’t he? ๐Ÿ™‚

White Shark at Basin Head

Last year, off the coast of Nova Scotia, a great white shark was caught, weighed, measured, tagged with a tracker, given a name (Vimy), and released again. Now, you can follow this shark around online, have a look for yourself, it really gets around! Yesterday it was tracked to Basin Head on Prince Edward Island, a beach I go to all the time:

Great White Shark Vimy at Basin Head, PEI

To give you an idea what this beach looks like on a busy day, here’s a picture from last year’s summer:

Basin Head PEI – August 2019

When I look at this picture and the Ocearch tracking map I can’t help but think Vimy is swimming quite close to shore, especially when taking into account that Marije and I often go swimming near here at a similar distance from the beach. We often see seals swimming nearby too, and no doubt that’s what this white shark is looking for.

Next time we’re at the beach, we’ll be looking out for more than just jellyfish, is what I’m getting at. ๐Ÿ™‚

Red Fox Dreaming

Last night I met a fox by the side of the road, she was patiently standing guard over her kits playing nearby. As I took her picture, a robin flew over and caught her attention:

Red fox – East Point, Prince Edward Island

You can see her wondering how it would taste if she could only fly after it…

Raccoon & Ermine

Today I bumped into a raccoon at the beach, and since I found it in the exact same spot as my previous encounter, it’s probably the same one. Just like last time he didn’t mind getting his picture taken:

Raccoon in a tight spot – Souris

Later in the afternoon I spotted an ermine, who was also quite curious:

Ermine among the rocks – Souris

Pretty fun encounters, brief though they were ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunset seals

It’s always nice to find seals hauled out, basking in the warm sunlight. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hot summer on PEI

It’s been a very hot summer here on Prince Edward Island, with nearly constant heat warnings for much of July, and very similar weather now that we’re halfway into August. Still, I can’t stay inside for all of these warnings: it may be too hot to go for a hike but nothing’s keeping me from taking a few aerial pictures, which is a rather low-impact way of exploring the island.

Here are some pictures from up above:

And here are some pictures from down below:

This little harbour seal approached me yesterday while I was taking pictures by the shore. At one point it was almost close enough to touch, with the young animal showing nothing but curiosity towards me. ๐Ÿ™‚

2018 Capelin have arrived on Prince Edward Island

When I lived in Newfoundland I always kept a close eye on the arrival of capelin around the island. I even created theย Capelin Calendar to keep capelin enthusiasts informed about spawning dates and locations around the island.

On Prince Edward Island, capelin are largely unknown. There is no spectacle associated with their arrival, like the whales and puffins feasting on them near many Newfoundland beaches, so when the capelin arrive here nobody notices anything, and nobody gets excited.

For the past 2 weeks I have been noticing something though. First, I saw gannets and gulls diving into the shallows off my favourite local beach. Days later I found dead capelin on the shore, not from a spawning event, they looked more like they’d been dropped by the birds while they were chasing each other around. Then last Friday while taking a walk on the beach, I spotted a small group of capelin cruising the shoreline:

Capelin on Prince Edward Island

I followed them around for a bit, they didn’t mind, I waded into the water to get this shot. Eventually they returned to deeper waters where I ran into a much larger school of sand lance, they were easily spooked.

If anyone from Newfoundland sees a capelin picture like this I’ll understand if they don’t get excited, it’s such a small gathering of fish, but for me it was my first sighting of live capelin since I left, so it was pretty exciting to me! ๐Ÿ™‚