Over the last few years, humpback whale sightings have increased in New York area waters during this time of year, Jennifer Goebel at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office told Eyewitness News. NOAA also had a report of a sighting in Moriches Bay on Friday.
The Coast Guard put out safety broadcasts alerting boaters as it did when a whale was spotted near the Statue of Liberty on Thursday.
Dr. Howard Rosenbaum at the Wildlife Conservation Society told Eyewitness News that the whale on Thursday was likely a humpback, which stay close to shore between Fire Island and Brooklyn and are most often seen by people.
Rosenbaum said whales are feeding in the area because prey, such as Atlantic menhaden (bunker) fish, is plentiful.
While the humpback whale is most often seen, different species of whales have been spotted or detected with increasing frequency in New York waters near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and just off the coast between Long Island and New Jersey in recent years.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is working with the Hudson River Foundation, the shipping industry, federal, state and local officials among others to learn as much as they can about whales in the area waters and why they are here.
The WCS and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution deployed a detection buoy just outside New York Harbor over the summer to monitor the presence of baleen whales in near real time by automatically detecting and identifying their calls.
Just this week the buoy picked up a highly endangered North Atlantic right whale in New York waters. Only about 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world.
Rosenbaum says the buoy has also picked up the presence of fin whales since June, including every day in November. A fin whale is the second largest animal on the planet. The blue whale is the biggest.
You can learn more about the buoy, nicknamed Melville, at blueyork.org/whales