STILL CHOWING DOWN IN THE NAVESINK
An Atlantic bottlenose breaks the surface of the Navesink on the Middletown side Monday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)
It’s been some time since there’s been anything to report on the dolphin pod that moved into local inland waters seven weeks ago.
Well, we won’t let that stop us from reporting that the situation is unchanged.
The mammals are still in the Navesink River between Middletown and Rumson, spending most of their time within a few hundred yards of the Oceanic Bridge, feeding on bunker and always attracting an audience of boats and personal watercraft.
Oh wait, there’s this: an official number of dolphins. Terri Frady, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has jurisdiction over the animals, tells us that after studying hundreds of photographs over a three- or four-day period, experts have concluded that there are 16 dolphins in the pod 13 adults and three “subadults.”
Prior estimates of the population ranged from 12 to 20.
Otherwise, the main concern is that the dolphins are safe and getting all the food they want.
“One of the things we’re watching is the availability of prey,” says Frady. “If the prey go and they don’t, we’d be concerned. But for now, they appear to be feeding and healthy.”