Rare white whales off English coast


This video says about itself:

Filmed by Deb Powis, this is one of two beluga whales spotted off Warkworth Beach, Northumberland on Monday August 31st 2015. A single beluga was first sighted in the area on the day before.

From the BBC:

Rare Beluga whales spotted off Northumberland coast

2 September 2015

Two rare beluga whales have been spotted off the Northumberland coast.

The Arctic whales were spotted in the sea off the coast of Warkworth beach on Monday by tourist Steve Powis.

He said he watched the animals from the coastline for an hour and he knew they were “quite obviously” belugas when he saw their distinctive white colouring and bulbous head.

Kathy James, sightings officer for Sea Watch Foundation, said it was a “surprise” to hear of the sightings.

Belugas are normally found at least 2,000 miles to the north, either around Greenland or in the Barents Sea.

In August, a beluga whale was sighted off the County Antrim coast near Dunseverick.

In 30 years there have only been 17 records of belugas in Britain and Ireland, the Sea Watch Foundation said.

Blue whale surfaces unexpectedly, video


This video says about itself:

Blue Whale‘s Perfect Comic Timing! #EarthOnLocation – Earth Unplugged

18 August 2015

Zoologist Mark Carwardine outlines just how hard whale spotting can be. And promptly gets upstaged by the biggest whale there is. This clip was taken from Big Blue Live, an exciting new live series coming soon to BBC One in the UK and PBS in the US. You can find out all the latest information here.

Saving blue whales in Sri Lanka


This 2011 video is called World’s Largest Blue Whale colony – Discovered in Sri Lanka.

From Wildlife Extra:

Simple solution proposed to save Blue Whales from being struck by ships

Research into Blue Whale distribution around one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and analysing their fatal collisions with ships has led scientists to offer a simple solution to the deadly threat.

Heavy ship traffic crossing the Indian Ocean passes close to the southern coast of Sri Lanka, bringing it into waters also occupied by the endangered Blue Whale, the largest animal on the planet.

Survey work coordinated by the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka, local whale watch operator Raja and the Whales, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Biosphere Foundation and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in 2014 and 2015, was carried out with the aim of finding ways to address Blue Whale deaths in the ship strike hotspot off the coast of Mirissa.

A paper on the findings, Distribution patterns of blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and shipping off southern Sri Lanka, was recently accepted for publication in Regional Studies in Marine Science.

Eleven Blue Whales are known to have been killed by ships between January 2010 and April 2012 but the true number of ship strike-related deaths is likely to be much higher as for part of the year the current and winds are offshore, meaning additional whales could have been killed but their carcasses not found.

Surveys conducted perpendicular to the shipping lane were used to determine the relative density of whales close to the shore, both in the existing shipping lane and further offshore. The highest density of Blue Whales was observed in the shipping lanes.

Previous data on Blue Whale distribution and coastal upwellings (a process by which deep, cold water usually rich in nutrients rises towards the surface) indicates consistent and predictable patterns of whale distribution. This provides considerable potential for effective measures to keep ships and whales apart.

Data from the study suggests the risk to Blue Whales could be reduced by 95 per cent if the shipping lane was to be moved slightly so that traffic passes 15 nautical miles further south than at present.

Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Global Whale Programme Director, says: “It is not often that a serious threat to whales can be so easily resolved and at minimal cost, but here we clearly see not only the problem, but also a straightforward practical solution which can prevent more endangered Blue Whales from suffering fatal ship strikes.

“A little more analysis is needed before Sri Lanka can start the process of asking for the shipping lane to be moved, but we are confident that this step will result in a dramatic reduction in the number of fatal collisions involving this great whale.”

Vivek Menon, Executive Director of WTI, adds: “Moving the shipping lane this short distance would provide a positive solution for all. It would increase protection for whales and whale watching boats in the area and therefore also help tourism.”

Researchers estimated that more than 1,000 interactions between blue whales and ships are likely to occur each year. An interaction is defined as an incident where a collision would have occurred if neither ship nor whale had taken avoiding action. Moving the shipping lanes could reduce this to around 50.

Shipping lanes in other parts of the world have been successfully moved in similar circumstances. In 2007, a shipping lane in the approaches to Boston Harbour in America was moved in order to lower the risk of collision with Right Whales by avoiding the main area of density, cutting the risk of collision by an estimated 58 per cent.

In order for the shipping lane to be moved, Sri Lanka will need to bring forward a proposal for consideration by the International Maritime Organisation. Additional data continues to be gathered and further analyses will be coordinated through the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission.

Irish seabird and whale news


This is a great shearwater video from Portugal in 2014.

From Cork Bird News in Ireland, on Twitter today:

16/8, 16.05: Baltimore pelagic – 2 Wilson’s [Petrels], 7 Great Shear[waters], 1 prob[ably] Cory’s [Shearwater], 4 Bonxie [Great Skua], 7 Sooties [Sooty Shearwaters], 4 Minke [Whales] & Common Dolphins

Humpback whales, what do they eat?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Surfer Almost Swallowed by Whale

2 November 2011

A woman floating on a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California almost ended up on the lunch menu for a humpback whale over the weekend. Barb Roettger had her camera rolling as two hefty whales popped out of the calm waters not far from the unsuspecting surfer and a pair of kayakers.

A pod of humpback whales has been hanging out off the Santa Cruz coast, noshing on anchovies that flock to the area to feed on plankton. The woman found herself in the middle of a feeding frenzy called lunge feeding, which occurs when whales herd anchovies and shoot straight up out of the water with their mouth wide open to catch the fish.

The whales have had quite a few dangerous close encounters with humans and boats in recent months. Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from the feeding area which can be a quarter mile square. Roettger says she has now gained a greater respect for whales, their feeding patterns and will now only spectate from the decidedly safer dry land.

For those who doubt that this is real, watch this footage that is shot from the same kayak.

From eNatureBlog in the USA:

What Do Humpback Whales Really Eat For Dinner?

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2015 by eNature

Despite the title of the video above, Humpbacks don’t eat surfers!

Even so, this video received lots of attention around the internet when it appeared— and for good reason.

It shows a surfer’s VERY close encounter with a humpback whale off the beaches of Santa Cruz, in Northern California.

But it’s also interesting because it’s a great close-up view of how a Humpback feeds and the sort of marine life that makes up its diet.

How To Eat Without Teeth?

Humpbacks are baleen whales and have no teeth. They feed by using the large plates of baleen (see photo to right) in their mouths to filter out shrimp-like krill and other small creatures from the water. Plated grooves in the whale’s mouth allow water that was taken in to easily drain, leaving a mouth full of dinner.

But most folks don’t realize that baleen whales such as humpbacks also consume fish— mainly small schooling fish they hunt in same fashion as krill.

In the video you can clearly see lots of small prey fish scattering in all directions just before and as the whale breaches. (Double click on the video if you want to see a bigger version of it). You an also see the whale’s baleen plates and the water rushing from its mouth as it filters out its prey.

Blowing Bubbles For Dinner

Humpbacks are energetic hunters, taking krill and small schooling fish such as herring, mackerel, pollock, and haddock. They’re also quite clever and have been known to use a technique called bubble net feeding.

A whale or group of whales swims in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below a school of prey, encircling and confining the school in an ever-smaller cylinder. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the ‘net’ with their mouths open, filtering huge quantities of water and capturing thousands of fish in one gulp.

It’s a pretty amazing thing to observe…

And one other fun thing to note in the video is all the seabirds following the whales as they feed. These birds know that breaching whales panic fish and make them easy pickings for an alert bird. Looking for flocks of seabirds working the ocean’s surface is time-honored way for fisherman to locate schools— and for whale watchers to find whales.

Have you had a chance to see Humpbacks or other whales? We always love to hear your stories.

Entangled southern right whale saved


This video from Australia says about itself:

Removing fishing line from Southern Right Whale at Roseville

Taken aboard My Girl 11/08/2015.

From daily The Independent in Britain about this:

Sydney fishermen film the moment they remove fishing line and plastic from a whale‘s head after it ‘came up to them for help’

‘It was surreal, we couldn’t believe our eyes’

Adam Withnall

Thursday 13 August 2015

A group of fishermen have captured extraordinary footage of the moment they helped free a whale from entangled rubbish after it seemed to seek out their help.

Michael Riggio, 17, and Ivan Iskenderian told the local Manly Daily newspaper they were sailing home from a fishing trip when they noticed the animal, thought to be a southern right whale, near Sydney, Australia.

The fishermen said the whale, which appeared some way up Middle Harbour just north of the New South Wales city, appeared to be looking for them to do something.

While Mr Riggio took photographs, Mr Iskanderian was able to reach out to the whale and remove a large mass of fishing lines and plastic that had got caught on the animal’s face.

“It was right on his lip… he seemed like he wanted it off,” Mr Iskenderian said.

Another man out on his boat in the same stretch of water, Ron Kovacs, was able to take a video of the moment the rubbish came free.

He posted it to Facebook, and explained that the whale had spent some time taking an unusual amount of interest in a group of boats.

“He had a big scar on his back, and some fishing line and two plastic bags on his head,” Mr Kovacs said.

“He [kept] popping his head up so you could reach out and remove the garbage. He tried on my boat bit [it was] a bit harder as we are a bit higher – I made one grab for the bag but missed.

“He later came up to a trailer boat and presented his head as they removed the bag and [then] the fishing line. It was as if he wanted them to take it off.”

Mr Riggio, who posted a selfie of the experience on Instagram, said it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, just seeing it so close”.

The fishermen said that after the rubbish was removed, the whale seemed to show its appreciation by slapping its fin on the water. Mr Iskenderian said: “It was surreal, we couldn’t believe our eyes.”

Canada: Stranded [Killer] Whale Rescued From Jagged Rocks By Duct Tape And Towels: here.