Humpbacks Feeding in Australia’s South West

Another very exciting day as for the second time this week we watched as Humpbacks swam straight through baitfish schools with their mouths wide open, baleen showing and pleats expanded out! Humpbacks feeding off Australia’s South West and WA in general has not been recorded by researches as yet, but there have been reports from local fisherman over the years. Being in the right place at the right time is all it takes to witness very exciting behaviours and today was another opportunity to carefully watch the behaviour of these Humpbacks towards the immense baitfish schools in Flinders Bay. To watch whales in Western Australia feed is a privelge and very rarely sighted on the WA coast as their feeding grounds are generally restricted to Antarctica. Their body language was relaxed and deliberate changes of direction were made to approach the largest baitfish schools, when suddenly this Humpback rolled to his side and opened his mouth wide as small baitfish were seen darting everyday to avoid their approach. We will need to continue to observe these interactions closely and at this stage it appears the Humpbacks feeding in Flinders Bay are young juveniles showing opportunistic behaviour towards this possible power snack on their migration north. The many birds were also enjoying a good feed today as dozens of Gannets dived simultaneously to capture a yummy meal. A beautiful Albatross also showed some hunting skill as he managed to duck below the surface and find his meal, having the ability to dive into the water like the Gannets though is a more graceful approach! These two Humpbacks feeding also had company close by as a lovely and very healthy looking sub-adult approached our vessel for a closer inspection of our hull and everyone onboard, she was so clean we couldn’t see a single barnacle on her silky smooth skin! The season is still very young but already we have sighted some remarkable sights and the health of the younger WA Humpback population looks superb.

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