Whales cap­ti­vate en­quir­ing minds

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

It’s been rain, rain and more rain this week in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds. As it poured and many of us kept wrapped up in­doors, life car­ried on as usual for the wildlife. Dusky dol­phins have been the main species en­joy­ing the Sounds with small pods of four to six sighted from The Grove all the way out to Mo­tu­ara Is­land.

These gor­geous striped dol­phins have been qui­etly feed­ing on win­ter’s fish buf­fet, en­sur­ing the younger pod mem­bers put on the weight needed to sur­vive the chal­lenges of the ocean.

The bot­tlenose dol­phins have con­tin­ued to charm all those they en­counter and have been trav­el­ling fur­ther afield. Head­ing around Cape Jack­son they have spent a lot of time in Pelorus and Queen Char­lotte sounds.

The lit­tle blue pen­guins are also feed­ing in­tensely, putting on the win­ter weight they will need to get them through the breed­ing and moult­ing sea­sons.

But what’s most ex­cit­ing at this time of year is What a sight: Those who joined the Whale Ex­plo­ration Tour on Sun­day went up to the whale spot­ting look­out and gazed out to the Cook Strait. the pas­sage of whales in Cook Strait.

These ma­jes­tic gi­ants are mi­grat­ing north to trop­i­cal wa­ters and many of them pass right on our back doorstep.

Hump­back whales are the most com­mon species sighted but south­ern right, sperm and blue whales are also seen.

Sight­ings are recorded as part of an an­nual study – The Cook Strait Whale Sur­vey run by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and OMV New Zealand.

Whales are spotted from a look­out by a skilled team of for­mer whalers turned con­ser­va­tion­ists and once found at sea, skin sam­ples are taken by a team of sci­en­tists on the wa­ter.

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