July 9, 2007

Fast swimmers!

How long do you think it takes for a Humpback Whale to cross the Gulf of St. Lawrence? This week, Valentine and Petra, our Gaspé team, saw two well-known humpbacks off Cap Gaspé. “Splish” (H002) and “Tingley” (H277) are regular visitors to our Mingan-Anticosti research area and are often seen along the Gaspé coast early in the season. News of these sightings produced a lot of excitement in Mingan because both females were accompanied by calves! But we didn’t have to wait long to see the two new mothers for ourselves. Both of them were photographed swimming side-by-side with their two calves within the same week. In the case of Tingley, it took her and her calf less than three days to travel the 80 nautical miles (approximately 145 kilometres) between the two sightings!

Splish (in front) and Tingley with their calves.

2007 calves

Every day on the water brings new calves this year. We already have 5 Fin Whale calves and eight humpback cow-calf pairs! One of the finback mothers, F258, also had a calf in 2004. This is the first time we have observed a Fin Whale cow with a second calf. The 2007 humpback mothers are “Tracks” (H109), “Tic-Tac-Toe” (H509), “X-Mas” (H493), “Koudou” (H406), “Gronier” (H228), H573, Splish, and Tingley. It is still fairly early in the season to see so many calves in our waters. Weather permitting, we should be seeing many more in the coming weeks.

We now have over 50 finbacks in our main research area but we have already photo-identified more than a hundred of them of which 46 have been matched to our catalogue. Our humpback observations show over 25 different individuals, including 4 that are new to the catalogue.

In other news…
Our headquarters in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan have new residents. A pair of American Robins has established its own little headquarters under one of the beams of our observation tower! The MICS team first noticed the nest and the three light-blue eggs at the beginning of June. We are happy to announce that all three eggs have hatched and the nestlings seem to be doing quite well!