Re: Fulmar & Shark

Brian Fitch

The facial profile and body-fin proportions of today's shark reminded me of the Great White many of us witnessed on Al Jaramillo's October 2012 trip to the Farallons.  But that general gestalt appears, at least in on-line photos, to be shared with other species like Tiger or Mako.  So thank you Peter for the seasonal and especially behavioral cues that weren't readily findable on-line.  This shark was definitely lunging with mouth agape, and not breaching.  Thresher has a very different look than what I saw this morning.


On Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 3:58 PM Peter Pyle <ppyle@...> wrote:
Hi Brian -

I would guess (tentatively) either thresher shark or white shark
based on your description of size and behavior. No other sharks
around here typically jump out of the water and many are not gray
dorsally. March is the month in which young white sharks (10-12')
start practicing preying on mammals and this sort of behavior (often
misses) toward just about anything on the surface is expected. Prior
to this age they feed on fish. Thresher usually is more of a
warm-water species and I've mostly seen them jump in fall rather than
spring (and especially might not expect this in a cold-ocean spring
such as this one). 10-12' would also be quite large for a thresher.
So my leaning would be toward a white shark.


At 02:03 PM 3/4/2021, Brian Fitch wrote:
>A motley gray Northern Fulmar flew quite close to the Sutro Baths
>terrace this morning, the only bird species of note among an
>exciting set of other oceanic animals.
>Bottlenosed Dolphins started the show, at least six of them swam
>past heading into the Gate around 7:15.  What appeared to be the
>same group returned around 9, and spent some time fishing between me
>and North Rock. A single distant spout was likely my first Gray
>Whale of the year, a number of Harbor Porpoise were scattered about,
>and only one sea lion passed by.
>The highlight was my first ever shark species seen from land in the
>city.  I was scope scanning a feeding frenzy of gulls and cormorants
>when I caught a brief but perfect profile view of a shark lunging
>out of the water at a diagonal.  I could see the angular open jaws,
>the flat head, and the relatively high triangular dorsal fin, but
>nothing behind that.  It appeared to be completely steel gray as far
>as I could tell at distance, and judging from a nearby Harbor
>Porpoise and the birds, it was between 10-12 feet in length.  I've
>been looking on-line at different species known to dwell in our
>waters, but there are several that could match up, and I doubt that
>I'll be able to ID it exactly.
>Brian Fitch

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