2011 01 22 Calm weather and despite the rain more whales sighted Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

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Three whales were spotted along South Shore today moving slowly from Horseshoe Bay to the Reefs where one whale put on a display, tail lobbing, breaching and pectoral fin slapping for about an hour. About 3/4 of a mile offshore, this seemed to be a calf doing most of the activity. Above is a photo of its fluke, which is almost good enough for a fluke ID but certainly good enough if we see it again this season to recognize it. We'll try and match it against the 7,000 whale identificiations in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue.

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This is the original photo above, taken with a vibration-reduction 300 mm lens. The first photo above is the one below after it has been run through Adobe Photoshop. It's amazing how a photograph that seems useless can be played around with until it makes a reasonable fluke ID photo. In the lower photo you can see the fluke of the 'calf' and one of the other two whales nearby. All the behaviour we saw was commensurate with a calf and a mother and escort. Could these be the same three/four whales reported to us a couple of days ago? Is this a calf born here? From these distances it's hard to say for sure, but what is remarkable is the public reaction and the network of spotters we have on the island. Marc Fullerton phoned up at 9.00 soon after spotting these whales at Horseshoe Bay. Patricia Leon saw them around 10.00 and Paula White phoned some time later when she spotted them off Church Bay. Our ever watchful Kelly Winfield phoned soon after that. Then Christine at the Spa at the Reefs phoned to say she had spotted the whales. It's great to see that whales moving along our South Shore are being spotted and sightings being reported to us. At 11.30 we left as the whale headed east past South West Breaker along the edge towards Sally Tuckers. Even Patricia Burchall at Bernews sent me an email immediately to let me know too. Thanks so much everyone for doing this.

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Babara and Marc Fullerton on the left and on the right Marc, Jackie Stevenson, Cathy Skinner, Barbara and Jay Kempe watch the whales 'carrying on'. Meanwhile there were dozens of cars at the Reefs Hotel watching the same spectacle.

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This afternoon Tim Card phoned up from Warwick Long Bay with more whales. They were moving relatively quickly about the same distance as this morning's whales in a south-easterly direction and curved off at South West Breaker to follow the edge to Sally Tuckers, just as this morning's group did. I even wonder if all the lobtailing was to signal these additional whales. The wind picked up in the afternoon and I would expect that given the wind direction from the south-east that upwellings on Sally Tuckers would provide a reasonable feed. Above left looking at Stonington. The spouts are almost indistinguishable from the waves. On the right is Tim Card tracking the whales as they head out from Church Bay.

 
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