***This is a repost…it’s that time of year and the whales have been spotted!!
That is what it is all about when the Northern Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis) come to town. Last year I spotted my first right whale off the coast of 13th south in Flagler Beach, on the way to the farmers market. If you see tons of cars haphazardly parked on the side of A1A and people gathered on the dune walk looking at the ocean, you might have the chance to spot one too!
Why, you ask do these federally endangered mammals visiting our beautiful coast every year? The pregnant females migrate every fall to the warm coastal waters off Georgia and Northeast Florida to give birth (calving). Then they travel back up north to their feeding grounds. Right whales are skimmers: they feed by removing prey from the water using baleen while moving with their mouth open through a patch of zooplankton. Adult Right Whales are generally between 45 and 55 feet in length and can weigh up to 70 tons. Females are larger than males. Calves are 13-15 feet in length at birth. There are only around 300 – 400 of these whales left in the world. Right whales are the rarest of all large whale species and among the rarest of all marine mammal species. They are injured and killed by boat collisions and getting entangled in fishing gear. Right whale sightings may be reported to the Marine Resources Council at 888-979-4253. [info_box]Great links on the Northern Right Whales: Whale Page – Flagler Beach Pier Marineland Right Whale Project NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources New England Aquarium – North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog [/info_box]