Right Whale Right Whale
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Chris Slay's Calving Ground Report

New England Aquarium, March 30, 2001

"The Fly Girls struggled through two hours of crummy weather today trying to find a clearing where whales might yet tarry. I left my desk and stepped onto the veranda when I heard the opposing engines of the O2 coming up the beach. I leaned against the railing just in time to see the black aircraft disappear into low scud-- not a hopeful sight. Tomorrow doesn't look too promising either so this remarkable season comes to an unremarkable end. And that's fine. There's a thing or two we've got to do before leaving this island.

The last whales seen down south were sighted on consecutive days last weekend, at the north end of our survey area, making steady progress to the north. These two mother/calf pairs will be navigating some tough areas going back to New England, including the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, near the beach where a ship-killed calf stranded two weeks ago. This male calf was already 25' long, probably 7'-8' longer than when it was born less than 4 months ago. Amazing. Hate to lose such a robust addition to the species. That leaves us with 24 moms and calves, eventually bound for the Bay of Fundy. It should be a wild summer there.

Counting calves, more than 62 right whales were identified in our little patch of water, including all but one of this year's 26 newborns. That's almost cause for celebration, which reminds me, I'd better get on down the road.

Chris Slay

By the way, we now have a calf count of 26, minus the one mortality."

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