BOSTON >> Scientists say they've spotted a sure sign of spring in New England: the return of humpback whales.
The New England Aquarium says naturalists on Wednesday saw three humpbacks off Stellwagen Bank, about 25 miles east of Boston.
Experts say they instantly recognized one of the whales as Ursa, a female they've been tracking for years. The Aquarium says she was easily identified by the signature scars on her tail.
Many humpbacks migrate to the Caribbean to mate and give birth to calves. Scientists say their return to New England waters is a harbinger of spring as reliable as robins and crocuses.
Along with the humpbacks, endangered North Atlantic right whales — some of the rarest creatures on the planet — have been seen feeding in Cape Cod Bay.