Dolphin sightings not unusual in the bay
Mammals seen June 26 off Breezy Point
While riding on a boat with family and friends, Kallie Fattizzi, 13, spotted dolphins. Lots of dolphins.
It was late morning Sunday, June 26, 2 miles offshore from Calvert County’s Breezy Point, when Fattizzi spotted fins and told Dave Call of Owings, the driver of the boat, what she saw.
“There were a ton of dolphins,” Fattizzi, of Huntingtown, recalled seeing as the boat got closer.
Call’s wife, Shelley Beavers-Call, said this was the first she’d seen a dolphin in the Chesapeake Bay, and she has lived in the area her whole life.
Beavers-Call said the water “was like glass” that day and may have contributed to her having been able to see the pod.
The party of seven who were headed by boat to Solomons stayed with the pod for a while taking pictures and video. Beavers-Call said there was a multitude of dolphins, “as far out as you can see in every direction.”
A video she sent to The Enterprise last week of the experience quickly made the rounds on social media, with tens of thousands of likes and shares.
Amanda Weschler, Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Stranding Coordinator for Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, said it is not uncommon to see dolphins this time of year.
“They migrate into our area following food sources into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries typically between May and October when water temperatures are at their warmest,” Weschler said.
She said dolphins follow schools of fish and in addition, noting their intelligence, “they have been known to follow watermen and commercial fishing vessels.”
Local waterman Craig Kelley said he spends a lot of time on the lower Potomac and St. Mary’s River and “I’ve seen [dolphins] all my life depending on the year,” he said. Kelley said sometimes, dolphins will become interested in his boat recalling one occassion when, ”they got right friendly with my boat.”
David Boyer, curator of estuarine biology for the Calvert Marine museum hasn’t personally seen any dolphins in this area but knows that it is not uncommon as there are a variety of marine mammals that come into the bay including humpback whales, harbor seal and the occasional manatee. A manatee was spotted last July in the shallows of St. George Creek in Piney Point and Boyer said a humpback whale was spotted in the bay in recent months.
“They’re fun to see,” he said of the various marine mammals.
Weschler said dolphins “typically travel in large pods and will remain in our area as long as food sources are abundant.”
She said that people are welcome to take photos and videos when they see dolphins and reminded that they are protected under federal law and people should not get too close or do anything that might be considered harassment. She said for the safety of both dolphins and humans, the creatures should be admired from a distance.