Monday, December 20, 2010

Right Whale Mother and Calf Tour Our Coast

The mother and calf spotted by the FWCC aerial survey team on 16 Dec (Thursday) near the St. Augustine Inlet and reported at the St. Augustine Pier on Friday evening through the MRC Right whale hotline were very tentatively identified as right whale #2413 and calf. The pair made their way south over the weekend. The MRC hotline reported a whale on Saturday morning, just north of Marineland, headed south and we picked them up just south of Marineland. From a 6th floor perch at Surf Club we photographed them to confirm it was #2413 again. We followed them as they continued south, then, late in the afternoon, between 16th Road and Jungle Hut Road, they turned north for a short while and then headed southeast out of sight as the sun set.

Yesterday, 19 Dec., one of our Sector 4 surveyors spotted them around 1:00 pm from his condo in Ormond Beach. This time they were headed north. We lucked out as the pair hung out in front of another surveyor’s condo, also in Ormond Beach, giving us a great view from the 17th floor. After several hours of circling in the same general area, mother and calf headed north and then out to sea as daylight faded.

If the ID is confirmed, Right whale #2413 has visited our section of coastline twice before, in February 2003 and February 2005. In 2005, we sighted her with a calf.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 Dec., is forecasted to have light winds and calm seas. We are planning an AirCam survey and hope to see this pair again. A total of three mother/calf pairs have been documented in the Southeast US this season. Keep your eyes peeled!