Humpbacks Feeding in Flinders Bay, it’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to witness feeding Humpbacks in Western Australia and this afternoon it happened!
Our first indication of some activity up ahead was a juvenile humpback breaching and peduncle slapping repeatedly and at first it appeared that this activity was being caused by another pod approaching.
Arriving in the area we watched carefully and noticed a significant amount of birdlife feeding on a very large school of baitfish. Our juvenile Humpback launched into a final peduncle slap just off our bow and we watched as he then proceeded to resurface, roll over on his side and open that enormous mouth wide.
He pushed forward and the baitfish went flying as he used his pectoral fin to lightly slap the surface and then push towards his mouth, appearing to be herding the baitfish into his mouth. Incredibly exciting to witness and very rare off the WA coastline, it appears to be a behaviour sighted more on the east coast of Australia with many Humpbacks stopping off in places like Eden to consume some food when the opportunity arises on the northern and southern migration.
He continued to feed in this way a couple more times and moved towards the bow afterwards, curiously as an escort pod approached the area which seemed to change his focus. Still amazed at what we just witnessed, we were in for yet another big surprise as Archie the Humpback calf and his mum appeared. We have not seen them for a while now and it was wonderful to notice Archie’s darker skin pigmentation and straitening dorsal fin. Mother and calf both seemed pleased to see us as they recognized the sound of our vessel and approached calmly.
It appears at this stage she has decided that Flinders Bay is the most suitable place for her to raise little Archie and we were very pleased to see both doing so well. The local Bottlenose Dolphins made a quick appearance and seemed to be moving towards those baitfish too as we couldn’t believe what a unique afternoon we had just enjoyed, Humpbacks feeding in Flinders Bay and a Humpback mother and calf, certainly not our usual sightings during this time of year and a privilege to witness this afternoon.
-Whale Watch Western Australia
This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here