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Bryde’s and Blues!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Education | Whale Watching

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Bryde’s and Blues!
The head of the Bryde's whale.  | Matt Jackson

What is a Bryde’s whale? Well, they are a very rare sight to see in our waters and have only been sighted a handful of times. On top of the amazing days we have had on the water with multiple blues, fins, and humpbacks, this was an exciting adventure for whale nerds alike! I happened to be on the boat last week during this sighting and it was quite memorable. We happened upon a small, black whale with a large dorsal. Usually, when we come across a whale that meets this description, it is a fin whale. When we looked closer, we realized that this may be a very small fin whale, but possibly could have been a minke whale as well. We had one of Harbor Breeze’s photographers, Matt Jackson, on board and he was able to get a better photo of this funny little whale. We were looking for two main characteristics: fin whales have a white, right lower jaw while minke whales have white bands on their pectoral flippers. None of these markings were present! When we checked out Matt’s photos, we saw that this whale had three ridges along the top of its rostrum(dead) which is a characteristic for a Bryde’s whale! After a lot of wondering and watching this whale circle around, pop up far away, not blow very much, and circle around some more, we sent the photos to others who might know better. We concluded that this whale MUST be a Bryde’s! This was especially exciting for me since this would be the first time I have ever seen one. If you check out Matt’s photos, you will see the ridges running down the top of its head, and, a very falcate, or curved dorsal fin. The guests that day got to spend almost a whole hour with this exciting rare cetacean discovery! The whale was not far off the coast and off of Trump’s Golf Course, in Palos Verdes. So cool! You can check out a previous blog from our last Bryde’s sighting all the way back from last summer here.

As discussed in the last blog, I wanted to introduce our photo ID interns, who have been making lots of blue whale matches! Some of the whales she has matched were first seen in 2009, and this month!

“My name is Diana and I’m from Puerto Rico. I just graduated from University of Puerto Rico with a B.Sc. in Biology and came all the way here to see some cool wildlife and learn about marine mammal research. This internship has been fun and rewarding. I’ve already gotten to see many marine I’d never seen before, including the blue whale. I’m excited for what else I’ll see during the summer.”

Check out her awesome photos in this week’s blog of her adventures thus far!

If you want to see a blue whale, now is the time to come! We are seeing lots of big blues, fins, and humpbacks, sometimes all at the same time! There is still lots of food in the water and life! Among the whales, we have seen lots of pelagic migrating birds, sea lions, and thousands of dolphins. Come on out and enjoy the whales this summer and the Aquarium with a combo ticket!

Thanks for reading!

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