If you had to choose a magic marine moment, it would be hard to beat the spectacular breach of a Humpback whale. They just love to leap, roll in mid air, and land on their back. Why do they do it? Perhaps just cos they can! Baykeeper is truly envious of Ron, Tania, Duke and Sofia, who photographed this fantastic sight off St Leonards in late June.
Winter is whale watching time in Victoria as Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) and Humpbacks (Megaptera novaeanglidae) move from the Southern Ocean to warmer waters along the coast. The 2010 winter is reportedly one of the best yet for local sightings. Let’s hope it will continue to get better as both of these Endangered species gradually increase in number. The key concerns are to maintain suitable habitat and food supplies. They feed mostly on copepods, krill, and other swarming zooplankton.
The Southern Right Whale Recovery Plan (2005 – 2010) notes numbers are increasing, suggesting that habitats are not degraded. Logan’s Beach at Warrnambool is one of 6 known Southern Right whale calving areas scattered along the southern coastline from WA to Vic. The Australian population of Southern Rights is believed to be around 1,500, with less than 10% of those occurring east of Adelaide. So it’s quite a privilege if you spot one! The ‘eastern’ population may be more vulnerable to threats due to their lower numbers and the larger human population along the south east Australian coast.