Southern Right silhouettes lined the Flinders Bay nursery grounds today as the jet black cut through the glitter of the morning sunshine creating a beautiful sight. Our first encounter was with the younger calf who was resting quietly next to mum, Southern Right Whale mothers need to ensure they conserve their energy to withstand the 4-6 months fasting. Due to not having the opportunity to go off hunting, the mother Southern Right Whales must survive off their fat reserves for the entire time they are away from the southern feeding grounds. The young calves do not need to worry though, mum is producing over 200 litres of milk per day to keep their little bellies full! All this delicious milk means that we often see changes in energy from the calves after each one of their feeds and a full belly often results in some enthusiastic surface activity practice.
The Southern Right silhouettes began as one young calf began to twist and turn, climbing all of her mum in an effort to get her head above water to look back at us. She seemed interested and decided to show off her pec slaps that landed gently on the surface with a small splash. Seeming to be growing in excitement, we could hear the noisy exhalation of this young calf who was having a wonderful time pec slapping and climbing “Mt Everest” which is in fact mums back! Patiently allowing her calf to bumble about alongside her, mum eventually joined in slightly as the young calf landed with a thud on her back. That one seemed to have been noticed and mum stretched out to the side as she tried to avoid any further hard landings by her calf. It is a special opportunity to watch and observe these gentle interactions between mother and calf as they build a strong bond and the female ever so lovingly watches over her little one.