Monday, January 28, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 1/19-1/28

I know I am so far behind and I am so sorry! Life has a funny way of catching up to me sometimes!

First I wanted to update everyone on the right whale calf that washed up in Ormond By The Sea over the weekend. It was apparently a new born with "remnants of the umbilical cord still attached". They believe the death was natural causes, but as soon as they post the results of the necropsy everyone will know for sure.

Joy doesn't think that he was one of the whales that the Marineland volunteers have spotted and cataloged this season. (There have been 8 mother and calf pairs so far)

Joy also goes on to say in the email that if the Right Whales behavior is like that of the bottlenosed dolphin, "once the baby is out of the mothers sight" they no longer appear to grieve. The behavior I read about last year when the mother appeared erratic, she may have been in sight of her baby when washed up on shore in Jacksonville after a ship strike.


January 19, 2008

Arpeggio and baby were spotted throughout the day in northern Flagler County.

They were first spotted at around 9:45 am by the Survey team that was on the look out at Sea Colony but disappeared quickly. They were spotted again a mile north of Sea Colony just after 12 noon by someone living at the Surf Club condo. Joy and company were able to photograph and get a positive ID on Arpeggio as she has white scars that help them identify her.

They also were able to witness Arpeggio roll onto her back, then her calf swim through Arpeggio's pectoral fins and onto its moms chest. Man, I would love to see interaction like that.

The Project's Survey members watched these two on and off until about 5pm.

January 23, 2008

Right Whale #1622 was sighted in the area with her fourth calf. This whale is very special to Joy as she is the first whale Joy ever photographed from an AirCam.

#1622 and calf were sighted 2 days in a row, first in Ormond By The Sea. The AirCam was able to fly over and get some great photos of mother and calf. According to Joy's update, one photos has the calf upside down on it's mother tail giving them "a rare chance to figure out its gender" which appears to be male.

(I was terrified that this may be the male that washed up on shore Friday, January 25th and was relieved I was wrong)

On the 24th the pair may have been spotted again in S. Daytona. It was a rather gray and windy day, not a good AirCam day. The Project had to rely on ground photos and from those photos they believe the pair was once again #1622 and calf.

January 25, 2008

First thing in the morning two whale sighting calls were received. The first was from New Symra Beach and the Marine Resources Council Response Team soon discovered #1622 and her calf there.

The second sighting was in Daytona Beach by the Volusia County Beach Patrol. Unfortunately we had a low fog deck that day and was several hours until AirCam could safely take off to search for the whales.

The AirCam team found the Daytona Beach whale about 2:30pm. They believe it was a juvenile and as yet do not have an ID on it.

AirCam then made its way south in search of #1633 and her calf and found them at the north end of Canaveral Seashore. She must like it there as she spent some time in that area with her third calf in 2005.

Janaury 28, 2008

Arpeggio reappears with calf in tow! The two were spotted near Crescent Beach in Northern Flagler County around 1:15pm and The Response Team had them ID'd by around 2:10.

The Response Team stayed with the pair following them south across the Matanzas Inlet and about a half mile south of that where the pair pretty much remained until 5:15 when the Team left for the day.

In Joy's email she states, "Although we soon learned that the dead calf who came ashore on Friday evening was a newborn, the white belly initially had us concerned since Arpeggio's calf also has a white belly. What a relief to see these two behaving in a similar manner as we have observed them over the course of our many sightings".

When I saw the photo of the calf and its white belly in the News Journal, my heart stopped, my first thought was of Arpeggio's calf. Even after learning it was a newborn, I felt so much better when I got the updates on #1622 with her calf along with this one about Arpeggio and her baby.

If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,

Please call The Marineland Right Whale Project at
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Photo above is of Arpeggio and her calf and was taken by Joy Hampp and is property of The Marineland Right Whale Project, used with their permission.

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