Monday, February 11, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 2/5 ~ 2/12/2008

I was sure hoping to have a new photo of my own to share with you today, but no such luck.

Once again we had the perfect weather to watch for the whales, a slight chilly wind, but other then that, nice seas and sunny for the most part.

I started out later then usual, hit the beach around noon. I did get some great pelican photos, this one on the top of what's left of the Ormond Pier.

And this one that was waiting for a fisherman to reel in something so he could beg for it.

Then this juggler showed up and kept me occupied for a bit.. He was quite good actually!

I slowly made my way north after making my call to see if there had been any sightings yet and once again nothing.. I got to the Flagler Pier and hung out there for about 30 minutes before making my way back south to Ormond where I waiting a little while longer before calling it a day.

At least I got to see some kind of wildlife though!
On to Joy's email updates..

I received one on February 5th stating they were very active that weekend before starting on Friday the 1st with the sighting of #1622.

#1622 was first spotted in New Smyrna Beach by the Marine Resources Council who said that the whales (mom and calf) were headed north.

Saturday, the 2nd, #1622 and baby were spotted in Daytona Beach, confirmed by the Projects Sector 4 "mobile team leader". The whales were confirmed while swimming north by the aerial and ground teams.

On Sunday the 3rd, The Projects Aircam took off after the fog lifted and spotted a mother and calf north of the St Augustine Inlet. Introducing right whale #3292 and her 1st calf! This is moms first visit to our area, she is a young mother, only 6. Joy tells us right whales usually wait to become a mom when they are around 10 years old or so.

A hour later in Ormond By The Sea #1622 and baby were spotted at Highbridge Road and A1A (on of my stops on Saturday). According to Joy they "put on quite a show". I wonder if that means a lot of breaching and tail slapping? Apparently quite a crowd gathered and parking at that particular area is slim (about 10 spots) which brought out the Sheriffs deputies to keep the traffic flow moving.

#1622 and calf were last seen at the Matanzas Inlet still headed north, spotted by one of the Projects ground teams on their way to conduct surveys.

Wednesday, the 6th @ 8:830 am Arpeggio (AKA right whale #2753) and calf showed back up again at Crescent Beach headed slowly south but they were still north of Matanzas around noon. Apparently it was at that time that the seas and winds kicked up and our spotter teams had a hard time seeing the whales so they headed on out. At 4:40PM The staff at Marineland spotted a mother calf pair who were quickly ID'd as Arpeggio and baby. The pair literally hung out near the Dolphin Conservation Center until 6PM until the evening skies made it hard to see them any longer.

Thursday, the 7th, 7:50AM
, a call came in stating a camper at the Beverly Camptown RV Park had spotted a whale, the mobile response team arrived confirming 2 whales, mother and calf. The ground response team caught up to the whales in Flagler Beach and found Arpeggio and her calf who spent most of the day there.

My girlfriend called me at 5:30pm that day to tell me she was in Flagler Beach and she was watching a whale also that she had her camera. I wasn't sure which whale she she was watching since she didn't see a baby. She called back a half hour later to tell me there were about 20 dolphins playing around the whale and this whale was huge. I told her if there are dolphins there must be a baby. She spotted the baby while we were talking. She was watching Arpeggio and calf. I'm very happy for her as she is moving to Denver soon, she won't be seeing many whales there.

Tuesday, 2/12, The Projects Sector 2 Mobile Team spotted a SAG (Surface Active Group) of 5 whales heading north from the Hammock area of Flagler County.

A half hour later the staff from The Marineland staff called in with a sighting of a right whales to the east. The responder verified a mother and calf headed south. The gang followed the mother calf duo south trying to catch glimpses of them through windy choppy seas and every now and then seeing a white chin and belly on the calf they believe the pair to be Arpeggio and baby.

The SAG spotted earlier broke up but seemed to reform later in the day near the Flagler By The Sea RV Park. Joy hopes to see them again and ID individuals in the group.

I hope she and the gang succeed! The weather is finally nice today, a bit chilly with light winds, and this weekends highs back in the mid 70s along the coast. Not sure about the winds though.

If I hit the beach again, I wonder if I'll have a chance at seeing Arpeggio and her beautiful baby. It's almost like a quest for me at this point.

Have A Happy Valentines Day!
And Remember!
If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,
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.

1 comment:

Jack said...

I sure hope we will spot some Northern Right Whales on our little journey!