A humpback whale looking for bunker fish to snack on found its way to the Moriches Bay this week.
Kimberly Durham, the rescue director for the Riverhead Foundation, said her organization has been monitoring the whale, which she estimates to measure between 25 to 30 feet in length, for the past week. Ms. Durham said she has received numerous reports from people concerned with the whale’s well being who say they have seen it splashing around the bay.
“We’re really trying to get absolute confirmation animal is eating,” said Ms. Durham, explaining that she and her fellow researchers are focusing on documenting the whale’s presence and behavior.
“There is absolutely nothing right now that indicates this animal is in distress,” she continued.
On Sunday, when the Riverhead Foundation got its first call about the whale in the bay, Ms. Durham took a ride on an East Moriches Coast Guard boat to see if there was something wrong with the whale. It appeared to be healthy and feeding well.
However, Ms. Durham stressed that curious onlookers should refrain from going in the water to get a close look at the whale. The whale is active and it could be dangerous for a person to get too close to the animal, she said.
The whale wading in the Moriches Bay can be easily identified by it’s unique, white ridge on its dorsal fin, which suggests that it could have gone through some type of trauma.
While humpback whales tend to hang out in deeper water, the animal is usually found where its food is—in this case, bunker fish.
“It is unusual,” Ms. Durham said of the whale in the bay. “You will never hear me say, ‘Oh it’s just another whale in the Moriches Bay.”