The Humpback whales are back !


March 7th 2013,
The Humpback whales are back !
After a respite, the observations started up again, all the more intensely these days. The first tail was shot by Cédric with the GED on the lee shore, followed by three others.
None of them are in our database (where we have around 140) and not a single one is known in St Pierre et Miquelon, where they have identified more than 600 whales so far !
We’re starting to think that they might be coming from the North East of the Atlantic, a possibility that we’ll have to check with the online database of tails, of which we’ve just made contacts in Norway, Ireland and Greenland thanks to Roger Etcheberry. It’s something worth watching…
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We have already recorded several male singers, who all use the same variation in one of their verses : enjoy the scream, close to a Ferrari start up sound ! It’s the first time we have heard such a thing over the past few years !
Open the link below :
In front of Anse Bertrand, this evening, a mother and her West Indian newborn were enjoying the Sunset.

Rorquals make themselves topic of conversation…again !
If you remember the amazing video of a boat pushed by hunting rorquals in front of Baillif, a picture taken the exact same day, shows that at least one of them was probably a young Finback whale, Balaenoptera physalus (the adult is 20 meters long or even more).
Thanks to Sophie Bedel for the identification.
This is our first observation of this species in our waters.

The others were « Bryde rorquals », Balaenoptera edeni, a circumtropical species, like those below who where shot hunting using the bubble curtains technique to surround their prey.
These are outstanding pictures, in the third one we can clearly see the groove in the adult’s throat, swollen with water and prey. The spotting was between Les Saintes and Dominica, a few days after the observation in Baillif…

December and January have been, for sure, rorqual months ! Another species was seen, this time offshore on the South East : a small rorqual, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, around 10 meters long and weighing 10 metric tones, easily recognizable, thanks to its short, white pectorals, a rare species around here but very present in the Saint Laurent waters :
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FDB- Dolphins project

A study financed by the FDB (Funds for the BioDiversity) has just been launched, in partnership with the UAG and the Dynecar lab, Biogemme, Lamia, the CNPS, Breach, Mon école ma baleine and the OMMAG. The partnership will do its best to follow the Tursiops and Stenos populations by photo-identifying them and performing biopsies. It will also define their habitats.
Mélodie Penel, who is doing an internship for her Master 2 in the marine biology lab at the UAG, is responsible for the creation and the writing of this study’s report which will last until June 2013.
All of our data is, of course, at her disposal and we’ll organize around 20 trips with protocol to keep photo-identifying as many subjects as possible.
All your observations of these dolphins will be very valuable for her, so do not hesitate to call straight away if you spot one.
Mélodie has already made a lot of progress and several identifications :
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A baby Tursiop is waiting for his Christian name, which the winner of a contest organized by Mon école ma baleine will soon give to him :
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Coming from Marie-Galante, here is some news of Albert the young Steno, son (daughter) of Tétine (we called him/her like that one year ago in Memory of Albert Falco). You’ll notice that we easily recognize him/her thanks to his/her dorsal marks which haven’t changed. Have a look at this picture from March 2012 (he/she was a few months old) and compare it with the more recent picture. This is a very important information for Mélodie.
The whole group is very well !


An association of 4 species : humpback whales, pilot whales, Fraser’s dolphins and humans
Half-way to Montserrat, we had a chance meeting : we came across a whale, who was very angry because a group of pilot whales and Fraser’s dolphins were circling her… one could almost call it harassment

A pilot whale surfing next to our boat.

An observatory in Martinique, welcome to the club !!

Our friends, Francis and Mélinda, launched the OCETAM (the Observatory of Cetaceans in Martinique) ; tell your friends over there so that they can report what they’ve seen.
positifvoile@gmail.com       ou       melinda.chopin@aliceadsl.fr
0696 92 83 26      ou     0596 70 30 98
Recently they have also made some good observations.
Let’s dream a little now : the ultimate idea would be to create a network of interconnected observatories along the West Indian arc. Thus, we could follow all the possible trips of our dear friends in the Caribbean.

Go on Paulo !!
Seashepherd is fighting hard in the Antarctic, Japan is not giving up !
The good news is that Germany just gave up its international warrant of arrest.
  Thanks to all the network for your vim and the trust you have in us by sending us all your observations (which are increasingly numerous).

translated by Anne-Sophie MINAULT et Natasha EDWARDS

Laurent Bouveret OMMAG Network animator
0590 68 51 26