It’s “Holly”, so it must be summer: Bottlenose dolphin sighting
One of our best known summer bottlenose dolphins in Beaufort is “Holly”. We identify her by photos that show the 3 very distinct notches on her dorsal fin – a process called “photo-identification”. She is a mom (likely a great-grandmother by now) who we first identified in Beaufort in July, 1989. We’ve seen her nearly every summer since then, and her dorsal fin looks very much the same today (27 years later!). We’ve seen bottlenose dolphin holly approximately 100 times between Beaufort and Cape Lookout over the years, but only between April and October. Her sightings here peak in August. We believe Holly spends winters in around Wrightsville Beach – we’re still trying to figure that out. Holly is a well-known dolphin along our coast among people studying bottlenose dolphins and is featured in the Animatronic Dolphin Discovery exhibit at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. We haven’t seen Holly as much as we used to so it was a special treat to see her in the Newport River twice so far this summer. You can see more photos of Holly and try your photo-ID skills at http://www.capelookoutstudies.org/dolphin-id-game/.
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