On my morning PiPl check, I met up with a super nice gentleman, Bill, who walks the beach every morning. He loves wildlife (including PiPls), is a Coast Guard veteran, was a fisherman, and grew up on a marsh. Bill pointed out the whale (or he thought possibly a large dolphin), breaching and blowing blow holes off in the distance. Bill mentioned there had been a crowd along the back shore earlier and that there is tons of good bait fish off the coast right now.

Can a marine specialist please help us identify what we are looking at. Please comment in the comment section if you have a moment. Thank you so much!

Editor’s Note – Piping Plover volunteer monitor Val Cabral shares that this is a Humpback Whale. Thank you Val for writing!

How exciting at see an Osprey swoop in and snatch up a large fish precisely where the whales were fishing. All were too far away to get some really fine shots, but you can at least get an idea from the photos.

PiPl Update- all three fledglings are doing beautifully on this, their 39th day 🙂 The three spent the hours of five to seven mostly foraging in the area front of the enclosure, and also preening within the enclosure. Papa was on the scene, too.

July 10, 2019 Good Harbor Beach Sunrise

I wonder what kind of fish is bringing out the whales and the Osprey?

CBS News Needs To Figure Out The Difference Between A Dolphin and A Porpoise

Mendy Garron, NER Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator explained this to us last week when we were trying to ID several Common Dolphin and Porpoise Sightings In Gloucester Harbor on March 17th and 18th.

In last night’s headline incorrectly titled the headline-

Dead Dolphin Found On Revere Beach

They went on in the story about how it was a porpoise here’s an excerpt-

REVERE (CBS) — A dead harbor porpoise was found on Revere Beach Saturday morning. It is the seventh harbor porpoise that the New England Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Team handled in Massachusetts this week. Six of them were dead when found. The seventh had been stranded in a salt marsh in Saugus and is doing well not at the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rescue Center in Biddeford, Maine.

The Aquarium says all of the porpoises found were yearlings that were underweight and had probably just been weaned from their mothers in the early winter. This leaves it up to them for forage for food through the winter.

For the rest of the story click the highlighted link above.

Hey screw-ups happen.  Nobody’s perfect, least of all your boy Joey.  Just thought I’d point it out for ‘em.

Here is the difference as we reported last week in this series of posts including video.  I wonder if the harbor porpoise that washed up was the guy bouncing around Gloucester harbor 10 days ago?-

ID dolphin/porpoise/whale For Bill

Posted on March 17, 2011 by Joey C

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?

~Bill O’Connor
North Shore Kid


Harbor Porpoise In Front of The Dock 3/17/11

Posted on March 17, 2011 by Joey C

Funny that we had the post from Bill O’Connor about ID’ing the harbor porpoise and what do you know he surfaces up in front of our dock the at about the same time Bill’s post went live.

Mendy Garron Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator Reports On Common Dolphin In Gloucester Harbor Yesterday

Posted on March 18, 2011 by Joey C

Hi Joey,

I did see the video and this too is a harbor porpoise.  Below is a picture of the common dolphin from yesterday (photo provide by USCG).  As you will notice, the dorsal fin is much more ‘hooked’ shape compared to a harbor porpoise.

Thanks so much!



There are some good refernces on the differences between a dolphin and a porpoise on the web. Check out-