ID dolphin/porpoise/whale For Bill

Hey Joe,

We had a little dolphin/porpoise/whale in the cove on Thursday. Whatever it was it was definitely a cetacean. In this shot, it was only about 50 feet from shore, and the water was only 5-6 feet deep, so I’m thinking it was a lost pup that got separated from it’s pod.  I’m not sure what species it was – but its color was very dark – almost black, the dorsal fin was swept back and pretty small, so it could be a pilot whale pup.  As far as I could tell it was only 4-5 feet long with not much body mass.

Does anybody want to help identify it?

Here’s a pilot whale image for comparison:

~Bill O’Connor
North Shore Kid


I believe it’s a harbor porpoise.   There’s been one in the harbor all fall and it can bee seen swimming up and down the inner harbor in between Rose’s and Cape Seafood.

5 thoughts on “ID dolphin/porpoise/whale For Bill

  1. That’s definitely a harbor porpoise, often seen this time of year in the harbor, sometimes in small groups of 2 to 4.


  2. It is a Harbor Porpoise. Small triangular dorsal fin, located slightly aft of mid-body. Dark gray or black on back, with lighter sides and white belly. Adults- 4 to 6 feet long. They travel alone, or in groups of 2-10. Often approach stationary vessels, but usually avoid moving vessels, and they do not bowride. They are not acrobatic!
    -Ernest Jaramillo
    Marine Biologist


  3. Hi All:
    As previously indicated, this is a harbor porpoise. More information about harbor porpoise can be found at I did want to alert the community that yesterday, March 17th, a lone common dolphin was observed swimming near the state fish pier. Biologists monitored the dolphin throughout the day. The dolphin is not there this morning, however, I would like to remind folks that if the dolphin returns to the area, please contact our Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline @ 866-755-NOAA (6622). Please remain a safe distance from the dolphin and do not attempt to feed or touch it.
    Mendy Garron
    NMFS NER Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator


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