Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Second Right Whale Identified and Humpback Sighted

With the help of additional photos, including some from David Ogg of Mobile Team 3 (one is to the right), the second right whale in the 23 January sighting has been identified as Whale #4057. This juvenile was born in 2010 and we saw him/her (gender unknown) as a calf six times in January and February. The following December, we sighted him/her again as a yearling. The identity of Whale #3860 also was confirmed, so we have previous history with both of these whales.

Our colleagues with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) documented these two juveniles on 26 January about 13 nm SE of the St. Johns River Inlet during their aerial survey. The whales didn’t stay in our area for long, but what a treat they gave us!

On Monday, 28 January, the AirCam survey team discovered a humpback whale off Crescent Beach near State Road 206. It remained mostly submerged, surfacing only to breathe. We were able to obtain photographs that Katie Jackson of FWCC compared to those of two other humpbacks sighted by their aerial teams. Our photographs were of a different whale. Note the long white pectoral fins and small dorsal fin about 2/3’s along the whale’s back from its head that differentiate it from a right whale.