While vacationing in the Hamptons on Long Island, Tovi Sonnenberg noticed splashing in the water. He later learned the movement was actually a school of fish swimming toward the shore. He told Global News: “We saw splashing in the water. The lifeguard came by and said there was a feeding frenzy with dolphins and sharks. It couldn’t have been 10 feet from the shore.”
Aware of the regular occurrence, Sonnenberg kept his drone nearby in case there was an opportunity to film. On August 16, the moment presented itself. Sonnenberg was able to capture aerial footage with a drone showing a herd of sharks feeding on a large school of bunker fish approximately 50 feet from shore.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Sonnenberg. “The only wildlife I’ve seen in this area before was a dolphin a few years ago.” Reportedly, he spotted about 20 other large schools of fish as he was filming, albeit a big farther from shore. “There was a storm a few days before that could have pushed the fish inward, attracting the predators,” Sonnenberg said. “Then there was another storm a few days later that may have pushed them back out. It was really, really bizarre.”
Although the phenomenon happens quite frequently, it is very rare to capture the event on camera, according to ocean experts. Said Jason McNamee, the scientific advisor for the Conservation for the Oceans Foundation based in Canada: “The interesting thing about it is that with drones and YouTube, it’s a great tool for biologists. It’s a rare glimpse into an ecosystem that we know very little about.”
Ocean consultant Joe Spears agrees. He also believes low rainfall increased the saline content in the water, resulting in the the bunker fish swimming closer to shore to feed. “What you’re seeing [in the video] is a natural ocean phenomenon, but drones have revolutionized natural observation. The only other way you’d ever see that is with a helicopter, and the downdraft would probably just disperse the fish!” said Spears.
Watch the extraordinary video below:
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