Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kleenex's grand calf

August 14 we were able to find possibly three mothers and calves, although one may have been a yearling with an unrelated adult.  Sometimes the relationships are temporary and may resemble mother and calf pairs, particularly of yearlings that still retain the calf head shape. 

One of the mothers was #2642, Kleenex's (#1142) daughter born in 1996.  She had been tentatively also been seen in late June off Nova Scotia and the New England Aquarium research team had seen the calf but not with #2642 so it was great to put the two together.  Mothers are often off feeding for a couple of hours leaving their calves at the surface where they rest or entertain themselves by playing with seaweed or splashing at the surface (tail lobbing, flipper slapping, breaching).  The two reunite by calling underwater.

2010 calf of right whale mother #2642 on its side with flipper in the air.  The chin callosities and eyebrow callosities are visible and the big curve of the lower lip.

Also in the same area was the right whale mother #2710, daughter of Stumpy (#1004) with her calf.   We had seen this pair earlier in August. 

The left side of the 2010 calf of right whale mother #2710.  Documenting both sides of the calf are critical for future identification.

Right whale numbers in the Bay of Fundy remain low, however other species of whales including humpbacks, fins, minkes are abundant.  We have photographed more humpback whales this year than any other year.  We have also been incredibly lucky to have found sperm whales on five different days.  Sperm whales are rarely seen in the Bay of Fundy and there are at least four with possibly more.  They are identifiable by their tail flukes and so far, four different flukes have been documented.

No comments:

Post a Comment