Monday, April 5, 2010

Wrong ID Yields New Record

Identifying whales from our photos is a relatively new skill for us. Most of the database photos that we use for comparison are aerial shots. Identifying individuals from land-based photos is a bit trickier, but we've had a number of successes, bolstering our confidance. Then there came the sighting when we were confident of our provisional ID, but we were wrong. On 30 March we photographed a mother-calf pair from Surf Club III, just south of Marineland. We recorded the sighting as mother #2614 and calf. Later in the day, colleagues at Florida Fish and Wildlife obtained aerial photos. It in fact was mother #3360 and calf. The callosity patterns of these two individuals are similar, so we didn't feel too bad. But it was a lesson learned. Yet, there is an upside to the story--because #3360 was an additional mother-calf pair for us this season, bringing the total to eight--the highest number recorded for our area to date.