For the past several weeks, Mount Stewart has been graced with a special visitor, a beluga whale. Beluga whales are on the Species at Risk list, making this an even more unique experience. The Beluga whale in Mount Stewart has been lovingly named Pearl by the residents of Mount Stewart.
About the Beluga
The beluga whale, also named white whale, is a marine mammal well adapted to life in cold waters. It has a thick layer of blubber beneath the skin that serves as both an energy reserve and an efficient insulator. An adult beluga whale can weigh up to 1,900 kg and grow to a length of 2.6 to 4.5 m.
Belugas are extremely sociable mammals that live, hunt and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. Their bulbous forehead, called a “melon”, is flexible and capable of changing shape. This allows them to make different facial expressions. Belugas can produce a series of chirps, clicks, whistles and squeals, which give the beluga its other name, “the canary of the sea.” They may sound like music or even nonsense to us, but to fellow belugas they convey important information.
Many populations of belugas migrate as the sea ice changes in the Arctic. They move south in the fall as the ice forms and then return to feed again in the spring, as the ice breaks up. They can also be found near river mouths, and sometimes even venture up river. Belugas feed on a variety of fish species, such as salmon and herring, as well as shrimp, crabs and mollusks.
Seeing the Beluga in Mount Stewart
The Beluga in Mount Stewart can be easily spotted from the south side of the bridge in Mount Stewart. If you are coming to see the beluga, please be respectful of the residents by not parking in front of driveways or on private lawns. Parking is available along the street, as well as along the side street the runs along the river. In addition, there is a parking lot located on the corner of South Main Street and the Mount Stewart Road.