Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
The smallest of the Balanopteridae family which includes the above species, the minke whale measures around 7.4 metres (twenty-four feet), with a few individuals reaching 8.8 metres (twenty-nine feet) in the North Atlantic.
This species is often seen feeding in bays and fjords on schooling prey species, such as capelin, sand lance, herring, squid, and krill, but can also feed on bottom species such as cod and redfish. It is very active when it feeds, projecting its head well above the surface to slap the water, presumably to scare the schooling prey into a tighter ball for ease of capture. The minke then lunges at the prey ball and engulfs as many of the prey as possible in its expanding throat, which looks pink during this vigorous activity due to dilated blood vessels.
The minke whale has a dark black back and a tall dorsal fin relative to body size. It rapidly surfaces, with an often-indistinct blow, immediately showing its tall dorsal fin at the same time. It often rolls rapidly at the surface and disappears just as quickly as it surfaced, leaving scorned observers with only the apt consolation, “Minke, minke, better not blinky.”
You are likely to see some in the Saint Lawrence, in coastal Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and along south and central Greenland. Occasionally, one may be spotted in the waters around south Baffin Island or in Hudson Strait.