Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Right Whale Mother and Calf Sighted

The Marineland Project’s AirCam took advantage of the spectacular weather on Tuesday and Wednesday and made several flights with great results. Interestingly, all but one of the sightings was of single, pairs or SAG’s (Surface Active Group) of adult/juvenile whales located two to five miles east of Ormond and Daytona. The exception to this was a mother and calf seen on Wednesday just east of New Smyrna Beach. The sighting, reporting, response, and photography that resulted in the addition of these two as a new mother-calf pair for the season provides an example of how the sighting network operates as well as the awareness level that is being achieved.

An unknown aviator in the New Smyrna Beach area contacted a Hubbs-Sea World dolphin survey plane to report that they had a whale sighting. Hubbs-Sea World then contacted the Marine Resources Council, who in turn relayed the information to the Marineland Project. The AirCam had just begun its flight for the day, and the information was passed to the crew by radio. After locating and photographing two adult/juvenile right whale sightings off Ormond, the AirCam continued south to New Smyrna Beach, and sighted the mother-calf pair just south of the inlet.

The mother has been tentatively identified as #2430 ... "Minus One" ... and is the eighth mother-calf pair for this season. The calf looks small in comparison to its mother, indicating that it may have been born recently. If so, it would be very interesting to know where.

This is a female with a southerly and coastal habitat preference that we saw in 2005: Feb 16 & 19; and in the 2006-07 season: Dec 27, 29, and 30; and Jan 3, 4, and 5.

Our sightings and photos are also on the NEAQ catalog page for this individual (, so have a look.