Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Right Whale Arrivals

Braving the chill of Valentine’s Day in the open cockpit of the Air Cam, Joy and Becki were rewarded with sighting Catalog #2746 and her third calf 1.5 nm east of Marineland. This is the first time we have documented this whale in our area. Jim, observing from the Marineland Boardwalk, could barely make them out and they disappeared quickly.

The number of calves documented in the SE US grew by two in the last few days and now totals eight. Both new additions are familiar to us. Catalog #3157 was sighted off Ponte Vedra on 10 February. In 2010, the Air Cam team was the first to sight her with her first calf and we saw her another four times. Catalog #3546 was seen yesterday off Georgia. We first made her acquaintance in 2005 when she was a calf with her mother, Catalog #1246. We also documented her in 2009, 2010, and 2011 in the company of other whales. Perhaps, both of these mothers will come our way this season!

Team 3 was barely on watch yesterday when Julie (Marine Resources Council Right Whale Hotline) called with a sighting report of three to four whales at the south end of Beverly Beach. Although the team and Becki did not sight the whales, they met a couple from the nearby campground who had seen them earlier and had a photo that clearly showed a dorsal fin, confirming humpbacks.