Sunday, December 13, 2015

BOTL Injured Right Whale

We received a report that the Georgia aerial survey team spotted an injured whale, Right whale Catalog #3670 (Cherokee) yesterday near Jekyll Island. She has entanglement wounds and is missing part of her right lip. Cherokee’s physical condition is not good. Her skin is very light grey and appears white in some places, especially across the top of her head. This along with the missing chunk of lip will likely look different from a typical right whale when viewed from shore. At the time of yesterday’s sighting, she was traveling south at 3 knots, a fairly rapid speed for a right whale. She is very thin, so warmer water will not necessarily deter her from continuing south. Please keep this description in mind and Be On The Lookout for this whale if you are on the coast. Better documentation of her injuries is sorely needed.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

First Right Whales In the SE US

Despite the warmer temperatures, right whales have begun to appear in the calving grounds! Two days ago, our colleagues with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aerial survey team discovered two mother/calf pairs, one, Catalog #3317, close to shore in Ponte Vedra. Click on this link to see photos from both sightings;

We documented Catalog #3317 in our study area as a calf in 2003 and saw her again as a juvenile in 2006. We have not seen Catalog #3115 in our area, but Jim Hain photographed her in the Bay of Fundy in August 2002.

Humpbacks, too, have made an appearance. One was documented by local photographer Tony Caruso around 12:30 PM from 16th St. N in Flagler Beach. Follow this link to see those photos:

Dust off those binoculars and get ready! The season is upon us and it’s time to start looking seaward for those telltale signs. We expect to begin flying aerial surveys with the Air Cam next week. To report a sighting, call me at 904-669-8615 or Julie on the right whale hotline 1-888-979-4253.