Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness                                                                                                                                                 Pam & Wayne Osborn

2017 Exmouth

 

All the images on this page are Pam's

Australian Humpback Dolphins

 

We had our annual run to Exmouth Gulf in August and September to document the migrating humpback whales but also found some humpbacks of another stripe.

 

These surface active cetaceans are Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) and were only recognised as a separate species in 2014.

Humpback Whales

 

The humpbacks were certainly there in force. In the later part of August it was mainly adults and sub adults mostly in pods of two. Sometimes we encountered larger pods of males burning off an excess of testosterone.

 

By early September the mothers and calves were flooding in and often very sleepy after their run down from the Kimberley birthing grounds.

 

In 19 days on the water we travelled 478 NM and photographed 596 whales including 116 mothers with new season calves.

 

Since 2006 we have travelled 3209 NM in Exmouth Gulf and photographed 3185 humpback whales including 885 mothers with new season calves.

It's all About Learning to be a Whale

 

Mum was pectoral slapping and the male escort  was breaching. The new season calf did its best to imitate but didn't quite match the style and panache of the adult's performance.

Eye-balled by a Curious Calf

A Brush With Baleen

 

We have never been to to the feeding grounds so this was our first observation of this unusual behaviour. We have seen calves jaw clapping previously but this whale was clearly taking on water and the throat was distended.

 

The jaw opening and closing was slow and repeated  over 30 minutes. This was the larger of two whales and the behaviour was not exhibited by the other smaller whale.

Barnacles on my Barnacles

 

A close approach by this curious whale clearly shows fleshy goose neck barnacles growing on the circular acorn barnacles.

The Late Shift

 

Our favourite conditions for photography - a glass off and late light.

Art in Nature

 

Abstract impressionists eat your heart out. How could you possibly improve on these works of art?

Tears to Our Eyes

 

This was a male escort travelling with a mother and calf. The lack of scarring pointed to possibly an old entanglement injury. As bad as it looks the whale seemed to be moving freely and even gave us a cheeky fluke.

Where Were the Whales?

 

We take a GPS waypoint for each pod sighting and this is the pod distribution for our 2017 work in August-September.

Want to See More on Whales?

 

Download our free iBook on iTunes