As the sightings from shore became scarce, the AirCam altered its survey track to fly a coastal, 1 nm line south, then shift east and fly a 3 nm line north. The result is a couple of sightings we would otherwise have missed. On 9 February, Jim and Joy flew this pattern and discovered right whale mother #2413 (provisional ID) and calf 3 nm east of
. About 15 minutes later, they spotted a single right whale, provisionally identified as #3560, 3 nm east of New Smyrna Beach . Daytona Beach
We last saw #2413 and calf on 17, 18 and 19 December. In those three days, the pair traveled from St. Augustine Pier to
. They were subsequently spotted several times to the north of our study area, apparently making the rounds this season. The sighting of #3560, a six-year-old of undetermined gender, was our first this season. Ormond Beach
On Sunday, 13 February, Jim ventured out of
St. Augustine Inlet in a 24-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat to collect sound recordings of right whales. The FWC aerial survey team relayed two of their sightings some 9 nm east of , one a mother and calf. The AirCam flew out to photograph the boat and the whales, recognizing mother #1604 and calf, a pair that we’ve seen several times this season. Vilano Beach
In a pattern reminiscent of last season, when temperatures were on the colder side, the whales are around, but currently further offshore. With a warming trend between now and the end of the week, the whales could move in and be visible from shore. Plus, we are still looking for some females, #1622 and #2753, to appear with calves. The season is far from over!