2014 Florida Volunteer Updates

As the North Atlantic right whales migrate to the South Georgia/Northern Florida coast each winter volunteers help watch for and capture critical details related to this endangered species. This information helps scientists track the fate of the species and acts as a first alert system to pilots in the shipping lanes to avoid accidental killings. This blog shares the findings, photos and other pertinent information gathered from the Palm Coast Sector Volunteer Team while helping to connect and communicate the many ways we can protect the right whales and sustain our wonderful ocean life.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No Whales on My Watch but [Ocean] Life is Good

While I didn't spot any whales it wasn't just another day at the beach. I don't think any of us, while spending our whale watch duty by her side noting the weather, the bird and dolphin patterns as well as the wind and tides, take her majestic beauty and the abundance of life dependent on her for granted. I was thinking this while scanning the waters from the Granada Estates walkover because my instincts were telling me I wouldn't see a whale today - at least not here. With the red fishing boat unusually close to shore (possibly due to engine trouble?) and a number of others just beyond the whales were likely further out or further South I thought. So I packed up just after 10am and moved down to Clicker Beach. 

The wind kicked up a notch making the feels-like temperature drop and now I could see the diving birds that were missing from their typical earlier arrival. They were farther out than usual and as I kept scanning I was quickly mesmerized at the number of birds I was witnessing - it seemed beyond comprehension. A streak as long as I could see filled the sky and splashes were peppering the surface of the water. I tried in vain to capture this event on video but they were just too far out. I imagined a large school of something really yummy was jetting beneath the surface and making for easy prey. 

Then I caught the alert that a whale had been spotted south of Flagler Pier and about 2 miles out (hmmm gotta trust those instincts don't you think?!) and thus too far to get photos. Anyway, soon after I was engulfed in fog and almost zero visibility and thus my watch was over. And thank goodness - I was suddenly freezing! 

P.S. Here are a few photos from my watch and a video link of a red shouldered hawk I met up with just south of Marineland today to cheer you. Watch on!

And if you like this Red Shouldered Hawk check out the video I captured of him here: Hawk's Business Video on You Tube

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Team of Two Spots Two at Ten

Molly Carey and Tracy Martin were on watch duty today and at 10 am they both spotted two whales to the North of their watch location just south of Jungle Hut Road. Below Tracy shares her account of their experience - watch on! cs
The mother PICO has been provisionally identified as 3270 with her first calf.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011
At 10am I went to the Granada Estates walkover to get the whale bag from Molly. Molly began watch from her home and called to ask me to meet her there because she thought there might be whales nearby as she noticed a group of people at the Jungle Hut walkover looking North. No sooner than I arrived at the walkover when we both spotted two whales at the exact same time!

We both spotted the mother and calf right whales by their classic floating black "tabletop" appearance that just broke the surface of the water. While the whales stayed in the general area during the next two hours of our watch they weren't very active. However we did see the calf separate briefly from the mom and then rejoin her. There were fishing boats to either side of them and sometimes at very close range which made us wonder if this was what kept the whales under for longer periods of time.

I was so happy to be able to spot the entire length of the whales and to see their callosities very clearly. It was a good day for a sighting!

Tracy Martin

Not to take away from the whale sighting we had today in our area, here's a link to the story on a young female right whale that was found to be in trouble down near Cocoa Beach and then saved using a new procedure. Whale Sedated then Disentangled off Cape Canaveral