Five humpback whales were spotted off the coast of County Cork, in Baltimore Habour.
The five whales, who were feeding on shoals of sprat and herring, created quite a stir in the area. The Irish Whale and Dolphin group said it is unusual to see this number of humpback whales in one place, RTE reported on Thursday.
The whales were bubble feeding which is also rare to see. This is when the whales use bubbles blown from their lungs to trap and then swallow the fish.
Earlier this month fishermen and sailors witnessed a similar sight off the coast of west Cork when a pod of humpbacks hunted for a herring shoal. This was the first time this “bubble feeding” was photographed in Irish waters.
Youen Jacob, a west Cork RNLI volunteer and sailing champion, photographed the two whales off Baltimore last Saturday. Speaking to the Irish Independent he said, “We went a bit close to see what they were up to and were amazed to get such great photographs as they hunted the herring.”
Humpback whales can grow up to 50 feet in length. What is even more impressive than their size is their amazing intelligence. The mammals work in tandem to create a giant circular wall of bubbles around the shoal of fish. The confused fish congregate tightly together. The whales then dive below the shoal of fish and surge to the surface with their mouths open, swallowing their prey.
It seems that word is spreading quickly and nature lovers are flocking to Baltimore to see these amazing animals in action.
Here’s a video of how bubble feeding works: