Today there was only one sighting for me during the 4.25 hours I observed mid day but it was a GOOD sighting to be certain! A cow and calf pair stopped briefly to flash us their flukes in unison but it was so fast this photographer was only able to capture the calf fluke as it lingered a millisecond longer on the top of the water than its mothers. It was a beautiful sight to see bits of both flukes out of the water and see the significant difference in size in person so I will work to get a better image to share the next time this behavior occurs. The cow of the pair had two very distinctive markings on her right side. Two large white scars neat the dorsal hump and one just a bit more anterior or towards the head as can be seen in the image with the whale coming towards us. The pair didn’t linger long and traveled through quickly showing us a glimpse of the dorsal hump mark as she traveled out of sight with longer dives as they went.
Beautiful sunset after the stormy weather.
The sun is finally coming into view after days of gloominess offering the hope of a brighter tomorrow. I saw two very low profile whales today on two separate sightings. Both whales had whisper blows and traveled through just 150 yards off the shore, close enough to see them clearly for those with watchful eyes but far enough out to slip through undetected by most.
It is the lull right now between the stages of the northern migration. Most of the older males, non pregnant females and older juveniles have traveled through the area and now we are waiting for the cow/ calf pairs to leave the warm lagoons down in Mexico and begin the long journey to Alaska. The last few days I have seen 0-3 whales over the span of 2-6 hours which is way down from earlier this season. The Giant Coreopsis are beginning to fade as new flowers begin to bloom. I will go a bit less to count this week as I build my blog writing skills and attend a Conference to learn more about using this platform.
California State University Channel Islands Student Whale Breach Research
A recent study conducted at the CSUCI was published and sheds light on why young humpback whales breach. The study discusses how young whales breach to increase the blood oxygen levels via myoglobin which is created by the muscle contractions when whales surge out of the water with high energy. The increase of myoglobin then provides the oxygen needed for long dives. It is exciting to learn about the great student research being done at Cal. State University Channel Islands and how this research helps us deeper understand whale behaviors as a function of survival.