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  • Humpback Whales in Tonga 2013 | Part 5
    Sort of makes me think I should figure out a way to track overall whale density in the Vava u area going forward Q Why do humpback whale calves make bubble streams A Because they can So I know I said that I wasn t going to do my calf count this season but I sort of couldn t help myself Keeping in mind that I took at two week break in late August early September and noting that I didn t try as hard as I have in previous seasons I did keep a record of my own calf encounters This year I spent 29 days on the water looking for whales during which I photo ID ed 17 unique mother calf pairs That equates to a ratio of 0 59 calves boat day which is pretty darn high To put this in perspective the equivalent ratio has ranged between 0 24 and 0 91 since I started doing my calf counts with the high figure achieved in 2012 as reflected in the graph below Humpback whale mother calf pair ID per boat day Tonga My two week vacation from 28 August to 12 September during which time I did not look for or count humpback whale calves may have had an effect on the data I collected but if anything past experience suggests that the ratio would ve been the same or higher not lower had I worked during that period The reason Late August early September has been peak calf ID period in past seasons If there were a bell curve for appearance of humpback whale calves around Vava u with calendar dates on the X axis and calf IDs on the Y axis my two week break would fall smack within the peak Jack s interpretation of the Circle of Life Or more an Oblong perhaps A few other interesting observations about the whales this season The ratio of female to male calves was a tie this year Of 14 humpback whale calves for which I was able to determine sex seven were female and seven were male As I reported in posts earlier in the season the males actually led for a long time But the females made a strong comeback at the end pulling even I m thinking that my truncated observation period affected this ratio as females have outnumbered males for each of the past four seasons My gut says that had I worked the full season females would ve outnumbered male calves once again The results of next year s tally will therefore be all the more interesting I am not planning to take a break mid season in 2014 so if the females once again outnumber males then I ll have renewed confidence in the trend that the past four seasons have suggested If we tie or males exceed females next year then well back to the drawing board Ratio of female to male humpback whale calves Tonga There didn t

    Original URL path: http://www.tonywublog.com/journal/humpback-whales-in-tonga-2013-part-5 (2016-04-26)
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  • Humpback Whales in Tonga 2013 | Part 4
    the one above of a mother calf pair The mother has a laid back temperament and the calf loves to play This pair has been sighted on multiple days I ve confirmed 17 18 19 20 28 29 September and 1 October and they ve been consistently receptive to interaction with swimmers I m trying to establish other sighting dates for this mother calf pair so if you have a photo of these two from dates other than those I ve listed please let me know The calf has been so interactive in fact that he s become the star of the season much as Ikumi female 201005 and Tahafa male 201114 were in their respective birth years I haven t been naming the babies this year but this season s star definitely needs a moniker for ease of reference in the future So to help decide upon a descriptive unique imaginative memorable name I consulted my esteemed and learned friends who pooled their collective IQs and came up with wait for it Jack Yes well I guess Jack ll do Jack saying hello Besides Jack and his amiable mom we encountered several more mother calf pairs since my last update bringing my ID count to 14 calves over the course of 22 boat days which equates to a ratio of 0 64 calves boat day The developing trends I pointed out in my last major post still seem to be holding There aren t many whales around fewer than I can recall for the same period in the season for past years I suspect that the supply of eligible females ran out early this season There were many whales and heat runs early on but things tapered off fairly quickly in September But there still seems to be a high concentration of mother calf pairs as indicated by the high calf boat day ratio The ratio of male to female calves still favours males but by a much smaller margin than indicated in my last update I m at 6 male calf IDs and 5 female calf IDs now which is 1 2x male female as opposed to 2 5x male female previously This is falling more into line with my previous observations of female calves exceeding males so it ll be interesting to see what happens during my final seven days on the water this season I mentioned in my first post this season that visibility was pretty good given the frequency of precipitation this year Well that changed after a period of sustained high winds and swells from 21 to 24 September which churned up the seas and infused the water with air bubbles and sediment This coupled with a major bloom of PFTs pink fuzzy things in the water on 16 September has resulted in piss poor visibility since Even in deep water outside Hunga the water is like pea soup in many places which is somewhat annoying and makes for difficult photographic conditions though taking

    Original URL path: http://www.tonywublog.com/journal/humpback-whales-in-tonga-2013-part-4 (2016-04-26)
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  • Humpback Whale Feeding in Winter Season, Tonga
    Part 3 The weather wasn t particularly good but in the following photo you can clearly see the feeding birds flocking ahead of the direction of the humpback whale s forward breach which I call face flops mainly because it s more fun and descriptive to say face flop than it is to use a bland term like forward breach Possible humpback whale feeding behaviour during winter breeding season in

    Original URL path: http://www.tonywublog.com/journal/humpback-whale-feeding-in-tonga (2016-04-26)
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