A young humpback whale was seen in the Sheepscot River. Photographer Dee Dow shot this photo on Tuesday on the river. Photo by Dee Dow

A humpback whale has been spotted this week in the Sheepscot River in the Wiscasset area.

The Marine Mammals of Maine has been monitoring the young whale and reports that it appears to be healthy.

Dee Dow, a photographer from Westport Island, shot this photo on Tuesday on the Sheepscot River. Photo by Dee Dow

Sightings of the whale in the area were reported nearly every day this week.

The response team from Marine Mammals of Maine has watched it feed, along with other normal behaviors, the organization said in a Facebook post. The whale is chasing an abundant congregation of pogie, its food.

Dee Dow, a photographer from Westport Island, heard that the whale was hanging around the area earlier in the week. She went out on a boat with a fellow islander Tuesday and spotted the young humpback in the river.

“We watched it until we saw it spout,” Dow said. “I can’t describe seeing it, the awe. Such a magnificent animal.”


An appearance of a whale is not a common sight, Dow said, but added that another whale was seen in the Sheepscot River in June 2020.

The marine mammals group said no rescue efforts were needed but nearby boating activity poses a threat.

“While this whale’s presence is exciting and an amazing sight we hope the public gets the opportunity to enjoy, we urge people to appreciate this whale safely and respectfully by maintaining at least 100 feet of distance,” the group said.

Boaters should go slowly at a no-wake speed, the group advised. Boat engines should be in neutral when whales approach to pass. Also, boats should not enter an area where whales are feeding.

Getting too close can be dangerous for both whales and people, as whales can change direction quickly when following prey and can behave unpredictably. Even when following federal guidelines, boaters have been injured and thrown from their vessels or have caused injury to whales, the group said.

Humpback whales are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes it illegal to touch, feed or harass a whale.

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