Migrating Mammals In Australia
As we all know whales migrate along the east coast of Australia between the months of May to November. But they are not the only mammals that migrate. It is not uncommon to see Bottlenose Dolphins, Dolphins, Common Dolphins, seals and Orcas traveling with the whales. The variety of whales you can see will include Southern Right Whales, Bryde's Whale, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Humpback Whales and False Killer Whales.
Northern Whale Journey
May - August
In May there are literally hundreds of Humpback whales heading north from the cold waters of Antarctica. The peak time is in June as large numbers of whales pass by Sydney. The end of August early September sees the last of the Humpback whales heading north to the warmer breeding grounds.
During the northern Migration it is not uncommon to see the males trying to impress the females by breaching the surface of the water.
Southern Whale Journey
August - September
This is probably the most fascinating time of the year in the migration of whales going past Sydney. The majority of the whales are on their way north and now we see the beginning of the first whales going south again. This cross-over point allows for differnet interactions between the whales.
It is common to see the Humpback whales circling our boats and coming right up to us. They call this mugging and it it truly a lifetime experience to get close to these enormous beautiful mammals.
Mothers and Calves
October - November
Another fascinating period in the whale migration along the east coast of Australia. This is when the calves and their mothers go by Sydney. Their pace is a lot slower as the calf is just maturing and doesn't have the speed of the larger whales as they head south. On the journey, the mother will be teaching the calf to breach the water among other things.
There is a lot of playful activity going on between mother and calf and if you are lucky you will see both of them breaching the water's surface.
The Bryde's which is pronounced brood dus are named are the Norwegian explorer named Johan Bryde from over 100 years ago. Johan Bryde built the first-ever whaling station in South Africa. Bryde's whale has a short broad head with approximately 35 - 65 grooves and big eyes. Bryde's whales are members of the baleen whale family. Growing up to 16.5 metres makes them part of the great whales family which include Humpbacks and blue whales.
The False killer whales is a very sociable animal and have been known to bring food to people! Contrary to its name the False Killer Whale is a species of the oceanic dolphin family. They can grow in length up to 6 metres and are found around the world's oceans in sub-tropical and tropical waters. The False Killer Whale prefers the deep ocean depths. You can find these adaptive mammals in captivity and they adjust extremely well but are not too friendly toward dolphins. They have also been known to protect other species of fish. The scientific name for False Killer Whales is Pseudorca crassidens. They
The Humpback whale lives in oceans all around our planet. The name humpback comes from its pronounced hump on its back. Because humpback whales are often found on the surface of the water and breaching the water by jumping in the air they are a favourite for whale watchers. The humpback whale can weigh in at 30,000 kilograms at a maximum length of 16 metres. The scientific Latin name for the Humpback whale is Megaptera novaeangliae.
There are two types of Minke whales, the Northern Minke whale and Southern Minke whale and both are species or members of the baleen or great whale family. To date, their population numbers are stable especially comparing to other whales. Only the Pygmy whale is smaller than the Minke. Upon maturity the males will grow to a length of almost 7 metres and the female will grow to 8 metres. Their lifespan is somewhere between 30 - 50 years with some living up to 60 years.
Unfortunately, the naming of the Southern right comes from the fact that they are slow at swimming and easy to catch by whalers. To whalers, they were the "right" whale to hunt. However, there is a global ban on fishing for these beautiful mammals of the sea. Southern right whales are huge and weigh up to 80,000 kilograms. They are not the longest of whales but have huge body and belly that contain oil, meat and baleen.
Did you know that the Orca Killer whale is actually a dolphin? These magnificent mammals are found in every ocean on earth. Their distinctive shape and colour make the Orca Killer Whale one of the most recognisable fish in the ocean. Toe Orca's diet can include all types of marine creatures and they are one of the few predators sharks fear. There is also strong evidence of the Great White shark numbers falling in South Africa due to Orca Killer Whale attacks.
Known as the Common bottlenose dolphins these mammals are found all over the world in both offshore and inshore waters. You can find them in bays, harbours and river mouth estuaries of temperate water. Scientific studies suggest bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and use sound to communicate and hunt. Bottlenose dolphins live between 30 - 50 years. However, this popular Zoo mammal averages only 12 years in captivity.
The Short-finned pilot whale is sociable and enquiring and lives in the more tropical and temperate waters in the earth's oceans. It is also a member of the dolphin and its second-largest behind the Orca Killer Whale. Some call these mammals the "cheetahs" of the deep because of their diving speed when chasing large squid. The short-finned pilot whale is active on the surface of the water. When they rest they can be seen in groups on the surface of the water.