Sunday, 27 April 2008

Humpback Whale Migration

As some of you know, one of my other passions is Marine Mammals. The Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae will soon commence their northern migration and ORRCA holds an annual Whale Census Day on Sunday 29th June.

Groups of people gather at certain spots along the coast and spend the day counting the number of passing whales.

We record all types of observations e.g. species, behaviour and of course number. The statistics are correlated and available to anyone with an interest in cetacean research; the National Parks and Wildlife Service add our figures to their data on marine mammals and it all goes towards managing our ocean in a manner conducive to the well-being of marine life.

Apart from providing useful data it’s a terrific way to spend a winter Sunday.

No special equipment is required, just a comfy seat, food, drink, warm clothing and, of course, a pen. A pair of binoculars is a great help as is a camera.

There are particular places that are used every year but if you would like to participate at your own favourite spot that is fine too.

The count goes from 7:00am until 4:30pm but not everyone can manage a whole day, however even a couple of hours will help. If you are interested in participating, please email me and I will arrange to have the recording forms sent out to you!

These photos have been supplied by my dear friend Wayne. Wayne and I started up a land based whale watching many years ago observing the Humpbacks on their migration north. In the photo above, you can not only see this humpback's throat pleats, but if you look carefully you can even see his/her eye in the bottom right.

A great pic of a "tail slap".

This pic shows the humpback feeding. He/she is on their side, they scoop up a mouthful of water and then the krill/etc is forced out through the baleen which acts as a sieve.

A spyhop.... some times you wonder just who is watching who!

A pic of the flukes. Photos such as these are used for identification purposes. This one appears to have a "bite" taken out of the left hand side! More than likely an encounter with an orca.

And finally, a photo of a Common Dolphin delphinus delphis. See the hourglass shape on the sides?

Many thanks for these great photos Wayne....


michelle ward said...

Janine - love the photos. What a cool thing you are involved with. I know how much it means to you to be connected to the marine wonders AND the land-based howling friends too.

Ursula Clamer said...

These are fabulous photos and you obviously have a great love for these wonderful creatures, I hope you enjoy your day. Ux

Coral C said...

My favourite memory of my 3 trips to Hervey Bay to go whale watching was being on a small yacht surrounded by 5 humpbacks. Amazing, Amazing. The genuine feeling of connection with another species is so magical. And it truly is a case of "who is watching who". I understand why you are so passionate about whales, dolphins etc.

Love - Coral.

Lost Aussie said...

Great photos and I love the new jewels you posted earlier.
hugs from NYC

Elizabeth said...

These photos are fantastic!! What a fabulous outing!