Mating, Fighting

And, ID's of the second and third calves of the year! (well, of their moms)

Our second boat trip was today. We saw dolphins in much the same places as yesterday but today we saw some amazing behavior. The first group we saw was composed mostly of adult females and young juveniles, likely last year's calves. There were also a few pregnant females swimming along together. And yes, there were a group or two of rambunctious young males. After observing these groups for a bit, we moved back to Numurine and saw a small group with low level social activity at the surface … some splashing and rolling. There was another small group not as active in the area. We were closer to the latter when we entered the water but soon that social group was near to us. It seemed to be 1 female and 3 males (with one of the males staying mostly on the periphery). Two of the males were on either side of the female and one was biting at her. Before I knew it, the female had positioned herself between myself and three of the okyakusan. For our entire observation duration, this female was whistling loudly with a bubble stream. Soon thereafter the males jaw clapped and made pop noises. The female darted under and away from us with the males in hot pursuit. One of the other researchers said she observed mating. Though subjective, I wonder if maybe the female placed herself intentionally between me and the guests for a brief respite from the attentions of the males? We were about 3 meters from the shore and the surge and the current kept our range of motion limited … especially when amongst a group of mating dolphins. We did not follow this group further. As an aside, we saw another new calf today … with tentative ID's of the new moms as #072 and #066 (omizu-chan – omizu means water and chan is an affiliative suffix referring to a cute one) cheers for now Kathleen