Saturday, March 22, 2014

Right Whale Season Isn't Over Yet!

The hunt for Catalog #3546 and calf was on. They were last seen in Daytona Beach Shores on Monday, 17 March, slowly heading north. The weather was finally cooperating on 20 March and Jim had notified the team to be on the lookout. The Air Cam launched at 10:30 am. As it approached Matanzas Inlet to start our aerial survey, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) right whale aerial survey team radioed that they had a sighting just to the south of Washington Oaks State Park, near Sea Colony in the Hammock. Joy called Jim from the Air Cam to alert him. At the same time, the circling FWC Skymaster aircraft caught the attention of Sea Colony surveyor Sue Hecht and she called Paula Treidel, Sea Colony Team Leader, who notified Jim.

Finished with photographing, the FWC team radioed the Air Cam and relayed that the whales

were Catalog #2746 and calf, NOT #3546 as we had expected! After finishing our northern track line, the Air Cam came south and circled for photographs. The pair remained in the area, close to shore, throughout the day, affording us one of the best sightings of the season.

So, where did Catalog #3546 and her calf go? The answer became clearer yesterday as Julie with Marine Resources Council received a report of whales in Cocoa Beach. With the help of an FWC vessel, Julie was able to get photographs. They were provisionally identified as, you guessed it, Catalog #3546 and calf! We still have a chance to catch them on their way north, so keep your eyes peeled. Our response bags are ready to go!