ID dolphin/porpoise/whale For Bill

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?

Here’s a pilot whale image for comparison:

~Bill O’Connor
North Shore Kid


I believe it’s a harbor porpoise.   There’s been one in the harbor all fall and it can bee seen swimming up and down the inner harbor in between Rose’s and Cape Seafood.

About Joey C

The creator of Lover of all things Gloucester and Cape Ann. GMG where we bring you the very best our town has to offer because we love to share all the great news and believe that by promoting others in our community everyone wins.
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5 Responses to ID dolphin/porpoise/whale For Bill

  1. Jimmy T. says:

    That’s definitely a harbor porpoise, often seen this time of year in the harbor, sometimes in small groups of 2 to 4.

  2. Thank you. I’ve been wondering all week, and even asked the folks down a Woods Hole.

  3. Ernest Jaramillo says:

    It is a Harbor Porpoise. Small triangular dorsal fin, located slightly aft of mid-body. Dark gray or black on back, with lighter sides and white belly. Adults- 4 to 6 feet long. They travel alone, or in groups of 2-10. Often approach stationary vessels, but usually avoid moving vessels, and they do not bowride. They are not acrobatic!
    -Ernest Jaramillo
    Marine Biologist

  4. Mendy Garron says:

    Hi All:
    As previously indicated, this is a harbor porpoise. More information about harbor porpoise can be found at I did want to alert the community that yesterday, March 17th, a lone common dolphin was observed swimming near the state fish pier. Biologists monitored the dolphin throughout the day. The dolphin is not there this morning, however, I would like to remind folks that if the dolphin returns to the area, please contact our Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline @ 866-755-NOAA (6622). Please remain a safe distance from the dolphin and do not attempt to feed or touch it.
    Mendy Garron
    NMFS NER Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator

  5. Pingback: CBS News Needs To Figure Out The Difference Between A Dolphin and A Porpoise | GoodMorningGloucester

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