2012 03 11- Two whales photo IDed 29th Feb matched to two whales IDed in Newfoundland in Aug 1978!!! Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   
0707_2_bd_2012_2_29_as na1143sn01946
Above left, our 0707 photographed on 29th February 2012 has been matched by Roger Etcheberry to Allied Whale's NAHWC#1143 photographed on 1st August 1978 NE of Baccalieu Island by Professor Hal Whitehead. There was a subsequent sighting in 1984 on Silver Bank during a joint College of the Atlantic and Centre for Coastal Studies trip.
0708_2_bd_2012_2_29_as na1346sn02285
Above left, our 0708 photographed on 29th February 2012 was also matched by Roger Etcheberry to Allied Whale's NAHWC#1346 photographed by Professor Hal Whitehead on 21st August 1978 off Western Head, Newfoundland and again on 24th August 1979 off Square Island, Labrador. The photo above right is from 1978. These two whales were photographed in their feeding grounds off Newfoundland in the same month, and were photographed here in Bermuda, side by side, presumably on their migration north. A remarkable coincidence and perhaps another piece of the puzzle indicating that the humpbacks do indeed meet on the mid-ocen seamounts before continuing northwards.
Looking through the sequence of photographs and our notes from that day, we saw these two whales as soon as we arrived on Challenger Bank at 10.30 that morning and also at the end of the afternoon around 3.30 pm when we left. They appeared to be a female with an escort and a challenger. 0707 looks to be the male, judging from the battered dorsal fin and 0708 appears to be a female from the more rounded, well-shaped dorsal fin. If the humpbacks go to the Caribbean to mate with other whales from other feeding areas, then it would seem that these two whales, who are apparently from the same feeding areas in Newfoundland, might have met on the Bermuda seamounts on their way up north from the Caribbean. For some years now I have suspected that the singing that we hear on the seamounts off Bermuda is not related to mating behaviour so much as being used by the humpbacks to gather into groups of known whales to continue their voyage together on their journey north.
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