Thursday, September 22, 2011

Calvin is Back

Two right whales involved in a "surface active group".  The
V-shaped blow is characteristic of right whales.
The New England Aquarium right whale research team found Calvin in the Bay of Fundy this week.  She had been seen last in March in Cape Cod Bay by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.  It was appropriate that she arrived in the Bay to coincide with a visit from the Calvineers, Grade 7 and 8 students from the Adams School in Castine, ME.  They focus on Calvin and her unique story:  Here is a quote from their website, :

"Hello! Welcome to the first official website of the Calvineers! We're a small group of seventh and eighth graders who are dedicated to saving the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. This species of whale migrates every year, from Florida, where their calves are born, to the Bay of Fundy, in Canada. There are only around four-hundred of these whales left. Together, we believe that by educating the public, we can help save the Right Whales." 

It was a pleasure to take them out on the Whales-n-Sails Adventure whale watch vessel on September 21, 2011 to find right whales.  Despite the fog closing in and extending our trip, we were able to find some right whales and had a great time with them, but, alas, not Calvin.
Calvineers aboard the "Elsie Menota" after viewing right whales
Calvineers under "Delilah's"skeleton and life size model in
the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB. Delilah was
Calvin's mother and died in 1992 leaving Calvin to fend for herself

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gemini Update

September 17 there was a large group of right whales engaged in a Surface Active Group (SAG) or courtship group.  These SAGs usually consist of a focal female and a range of number of males from as few as one to as many as 50!  This SAG was about 20 whales and we caught the end of it when the female dove and the males started to mill about.

Gemini's head as seen from the right

One of the pair of scars on Gemini's back which resulted in his name.

New entanglement scars on Gemini's tail.
One of the males was Gemini, seen earlier in August in the Bay of Fundy by the New England Aquarium research team.  He has relatively recent new entanglement scars on his tail that have healed and turned white.  Scarring in right whales is often with white scar tissue which is easy to see against their dark skin.