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In this photo provided by New York City Police Department Special Operations, a whale spouts water as it swims in the East River in New York. The whale was seen swimming along the shores of Manhattan's upper East Side, close to Gracie Mansion, where the mayor lives, during a patrol by officers in a police boat. (New York City Police Department via AP)

A whale was spotted swimming in New York City's East River


Officers with the New York Police Department's special operations division got quite the surprise Saturday morning while patrolling the city's East River.  

They spotted a whale casually swimming down the river. 

The NYPD special operations division posted a photo of the unusual sight to its Twitter account. 

The whale was seen making its way along the shores of Manhattan's upper East Side, near Gracie Mansion, where Mayor Bill de Blasio lives.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Frank Iannazzo-Simmons said no one from his office had seen the whale, but based on the photos, he said it appears to be a humpback whale. 

A humpback whale was spotted in the East River last month.

Iannazzo-Simmons added that the Coast Guard usually just tells mariners to be safe and let the whales continue on their way.

Paul Sieswerda, who leads the New York-based marine wildlife tracking group Gotham Whale, told The Guardian it's uncommon for whales to be around the area this time of the year. 

“Humpbacks would normally be heading for the warm waters of the Dominican Republic," Sieswerda told The Guardian. 

This is just one of many whale sightings in the harbor this year. The first was in April, and it was followed by the November humpback whale spotting Iannazzo-Simmons referred to. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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