A fantastic afternoon whale watching. Hooked up with Capt. John in Plymouth (a classy nature-oriented operation) and spent a few hours hanging with humpback whales. The first encounter was the longest--a mother and child pair (see above). Then we hit a feeding area and there were whales everywhere you looked. Here are some close ups. (In the first one you can actually see baleen).
And where there are whales there are...SEABIRDS!
The birding was interesting even before we got to Stellwagen (a ruddy turnstone hanging out with the sandpipers on a rocky beach off Water St.; short-billed dowitchers visible as we passed Long Beach).
But the real seabird action was pretty good (for a newbie).
Start with Wilson's storm petrels, lovely and abundant out in the open water.
Add Cory's shearwaters and greater shearwaters and especially sooty shearwaters and you have the makings of a fine day.
My favorite was the swift-like sooty shearwater, one of which circled the boat several times--a real creature of the air. I also saw my first (immature) northern gannet, straight and sharp as a spear.