Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Teased by a Humpback

The phone is ringing! But, not for right whales. Since Saturday, we have had a humpback whale in the area from the St. Augustine Beach Pier south to Ormond Beach and back again to North Flagler Beach.

The whale is showing familiar humpback behavior: moving quickly, surfacing briefly, and showing little else. On Saturday, 21 January, just after noon at the St. Augustine Beach Pier, Team 1 made the initial sighting. They alerted their team leader, Diane, who verified it as a humpback from the small dorsal fin. Jim responded with the big camera, meeting Team 1’s Andris Duffy at Butler Beach. Together, they followed the whale south to Crescent Beach (photo above), but it moved too quickly and erratically to obtain photos. Their sighting form (excerpt below) allows us to make three notes: 1) the in the absence of photos, the reason for the species ID is recorded, 2) behavior is recorded, and 3) a drawing has been included showing the distinctive scraped and scarred dorsal fin. So, when your opportunity comes, these additions to the Notes section of the sighting sheet are valuable.

On other news: Joy and Jim were interviewed for the Palm Coast Observer, so check out the paper on Thursday.
Lastly, when things are going well, your help is valuable. When things are not going as well (as in no right whale sightings yet), your help is even more valuable.

And as always, here are wishes for “Light Winds and Heavy Whales.” Keep your flippers crossed!