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scienceguy:

Photographer Bill Bouton happened to be at the right place and the right time to capture some amazing photos of humpback whales feeding off the coast of California. The whales were so close that he took these shots from shore.

This image shows the expanded buccal cavity (cheeks) of the whale as it lunge feeds. The whale moves quickly up to the surface capturing a large amount of sea water and then powerful muscular buccal rills push the water out and the baleen strains the small fish and invertebrates which the whale then swallows.

The brown pelicans are swooping in for a meal as well. The whale is likely causing many smaller marine animals to come to the surface making for some easy feeding by the birds.

On the chin of the whale you can see masses of barnacles that attach themselves to the leviathan as larvae and then live on the whale, feeding as the whale travels and feeds. Barnacles are crustaceans (like crabs and shrimp) but they are not free swimming. They stick their modified feet (that look like delicate fans) into the sea and collect small food particles on them. They retract their feet to eat.