2010 06 9- All our own Bermuda fluke id photographs are now on the website Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

We have now entered all our fluke ids onto this website. There are some 350+ of them. The images are under "Identifying Our Humpbacks> Bermuda Fluke Shots". Each thumbnail has a code. For example: 0001 1 bd 2007 04 24 as. This translates into: whale number 0001, first photo of the series, bd for Bermuda, the year, month and day as well as the initials of the photographer. If you think you have a match to one of our whales you can always either send us your fluke id or ask us for the high resolution image of the fluke id.


It takes an awful lot of work to both obtain these fluke ids and to catalogue them. In 2007 we obtained 15 fluke ids. In 2008 we obtained 68 individual fluke ids. In 2009 we obtained 155 fluke ids. Because of bad weather, this year we obtained 'only' 120 fluke ids. Our 350+ fluke ids in four seasons is more than double the 146 Bermuda fluke ids taken by visiting scientists and local residents from 1968 to 2006.


We resighted whales often in the same season and these resightings are denoted under the thumbnail by a '&'. Resightings from one year to another are denoted by a '+' and matches to whales in other places, usually to the Allied Whale North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalgoue of 7,000 individual fluke ids are denoted with a 'm#'. If one of 'our' whale fluke ids hasn't been matched after being compared to the entire Allied Whale catalogue by at least two persons, then it is given a new North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue number denoted by a '#' without the 'm' in front denoting a match.


The longest spread of a resighting here within the same season is six days. Looking at the resightings from year to year, we have one whale we have resighted over four years, three over three years and over a dozen over two years. Often the resighting date from one year to the next is within a week or so of a previous year's. Of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 whale flukes, we have some 55 matches and roughly the same number have been designated a new NAHWC catalogue number. This means at least half 'our' whales have never been identified before. Of the ones that have been identified and matched, they range from their feeding grounds of the Eastern Seaboard- North Carolina up to the Gulf Maine, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland and two to Iceland. Most of the matches to the breeding grounds in the Caribbean have been to the Silver Bank off Dominican Republic.


Thanks to Camilla Stringer for her meticulous help in cataloguing these fluke ids and minimizing the duplication, and Judie Clee and Camilla for their work in helping to match the flukes here in Bermuda. Also many thanks to Judy Allen, Peter Stevick and Rosie Seton of Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic, who have matched our whales to the Allied Whale North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue. Thanks to Carol Dixon for adding these fluke ids to the website. All of this represents thousands of hours of work.

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