Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Land On Me Mum

A humpback mother lands a little too close to her calf after breaching. This image was taken in the shipping anchorage off Perth, Western Australia on November 12. Perth will be a short stopover for this mother and calf as they head to the humpback feeding grounds in Antarctic waters. One of their challenges is to avoid being run over in the busy shipping lanes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Exmouth Whale Survey

Pam and I have completed our 2009 photo-id survey of humpback whales in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. We travelled 462 nautical miles, sighted 169 pods and 417 whales during 3 weeks in September. We were able to photograph 378 whales including 92 mothers with calves. The images have been processed and will be added to the Centre for Whale Research's database for this Humpback population.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Whale Calf Collision Injury

This new season Humpback calf has survived what must have been a painful and horrific injury during its first few weeks of life. This one metre gash is the result of a shipping collision - this could have been a recreational or commercial vessel but underpins the need for caution in whale nursery or rest areas. This photograph was taken by Pam Osborn on September 12 in Exmouth Gulf during a photographic survey of the humpback population using the Gulf as a rest area before the long Southern migration to Antarctica.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Suckling Sperm Whale Calf, The Azores

A newborn sperm whale suckles from mum. The calf is lying on its side and using the gape of the jaw to feed. Pico Island, Azores

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Masculine Dimension

When it comes to charismatic megafauna, this Sperm Whale in the Azores demonstrates superiority in the masculine dimension.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Bubbling Whales of Vava'u

In two short weeks Pam and I have traveled from the mid-Atlantic waters and sperm whales in the Azores to the South Pacific and the humpback breeding grounds of Vava'u in the Kingdom of Tonga. Here conditions are very different with the humpbacks mating and also giving birth. About 16 new calves a year are born in Vava'u. These images have two humpbacks blowing bubbles as they pass by.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Born Sperm Whales, The Azores

The pod moved from the wind strewn ocean to the sheltered waters in the lee of the volcano Pico. That night two brand new calves entered the world. The pod was moving slowly when we saw them the next morning. The calves swimming with a short jerky motion and thrusting their blowholes high out of the water to breathe.
Folded dorsals and vertical creases on the body betrayed their recent liberation from the womb.
Baby sitting was left the two males as the females plunged deep into the abyss to feed on squid. During shallow dives, the calves nuzzled the underside of the males working in
vain for milk.
Photographs - Top to Bottom
1. A new born calf approaches my camera
2. The pod dives
3. A new born suckles in vain on a

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sperm Whale and Diver, The Azores

In the deep blue waters of the mid-Atlantic near the volcanic islands of the Azores, a sperm whale comes eye to eye with a diver. Its curiosity aroused by the human figure, the whale stopped swimming and slowly rotated to this vertical position. After a few minutes of eye to eye contact it rolled over and began a slow descent into the abyss.