A lazy summer afternoon Today was thoroughly uneventful. The only thing I managed to do today was laundry. No boat trips and no IDs. The only bit of excitement was some construction going on down at the pier. They are installing an extra 20 meters of pier abutting the new section that they constructed last year. So now the ‘new pier’ area will be wonderfully sheltered from the waves. It will be great when it is finished.
Boat trips a poppin This afternoon I had two boat trips in a row. And when I say in a row I really mean in a row! We went from 12:00 to 14:00, picked up a second batch of tourists and left immediately for another trip from 14:00 until 16:00. I have to say that 1 boat trip usually tires me out and I look forward to heading back home and taking a nice warm shower.
Marco? Polo?I had an early morning boat trip today – in the rain. It was nice and warm both in the water and on the boat, but many hours worth of rain during the morning and the previous night churned up the water. Visibility was terrible. I spent a lot of time treading water and spinning around – searching the distance for a glimpse of the whistling dolphins that I cold hear all around me. But they only rarely swam close enough for me to get a good shot of them.
How to recognize a dolphin I spent all of today and yesterday getting caught up on my backlog of video ID. It is rewarding, but also quite a demanding task. If you look at the above picture, you will see a typical still frame from the video I collect. It is of a dolphin passing quickly in front of the camera, and is the only glimpse I have of this individual to use for identification.
Lots of video! Two boat trips today! I managed to record over 35 minutes of video on just one trip this morning! We stumbled across a large group of dolphin foraging in the tosaka (seaweed). They were milling around this one spot – which is a nice change; we usually run across dolphins on the move. These guys were staying put however, and were occupied with finding fish hiding in the seaweed. I managed to get some great shots of dolphins using their echolocation to search for fish.
Geriatrictastic! No boat trips today – I stayed home and went through more video IDs. So in yesterday’s report, I went on and on about the new calves from this season. Calves are very exciting and all, but to be honest, I get a kick out of seeing the older dolphins too! There are some seriously weather beaten individuals out there – dolphins that are likely 40 years old or even older. I’ve included a picture of #229 (Mimizu) – an adult male – let’s call him ‘an older gentleman’.
Babytastic Yet another boat trip this morning. What a run I am having! I worked on some video ID this afternoon and managed to identify another one of this year’s new mothers (Omizu-chan) from video recorded on June 2nd. This brings the total up to 4 new calves with 3 identified mothers, and 1 mother… Continue reading Meet Mikura
Wind! A nasty bit of weather moved in last night; the seas were terrible. There was an intense and constant wind from the Northeast. The waves were tolerable on the west side of the island, so our little boat headed out there this morning. We saw plenty of dolphins! They were playing again in the big waves crashing against the island. They will surf the waves in, and then just seconds before they are dashed against the rocks, they turn and leap back into the oncoming waves. These bottlenose dolphins are not afraid of shallow water obviously.
Two intense boat trips – that is 21 in total for the season. An insane number! I am not even halfway done yet. During today’s second trip, I followed two dolphins, (#455) Saronpasu and (#065) Shakure-chan, who were involved in a little argument. It was most likely play-fighting, but they managed to look pretty convincing. They chased each other and chewed on each other’s fins. I can see now why some dolphins seem to be covered in rake-marks; those white gash marks that are caused by the teeth of other dolphins.
OK dear readers, time to exercise that gray-matter! I had another boat trip this morning – very calm conditions! But all of the dolphins we came across were resting – gliding along the bottom way off in the distance and avoiding the passengers (and camera). Still, any day out on the water is a good day! Well with little exciting news to share, I have decided to create this year’s Mikura Field Season Quiz. Here are your questions:
1) Name 2 typical differences between ‘dolphins’ and ‘porpoises’.