Perth Canyon Pygmy Blue Whale Season 2021

Smokey Haze

This story was first posted on our Centre for Whale Research Facebook page on May 07, 2021.

The fourth pygmy blue whale to have a LIMPET (Low Impact Minimal Penetration Electronic Tag) tag attached is a whale we have dubbed Tiny.

In this collaborative project between the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Centre for Whale Research (WA) Inc., the scientists are excited to see Tiny’s positions in the Perth Canyon region.

So-called for its eeny-teeny-tiny dorsal fin, it appears that that Tiny has begun to migrate north from the Perth Basin.

Click on the link below to follow Rosemary (a pregnant female), ANZAC (a presumed male whale), Goosey (a whale with a soft barnacle on its dorsal fin) and now Tiny (with a very small dorsal fin), ,as they move around the Perth Basin foraging and then migrate to the Banda Sea in Indonesia.

This current work is building on information gathered in earlier collaborative work by CWR with the Australian Antarctic Division when the first migrations into Indonesia by pygmy blue whales were documented in a research paper in 2009.

Who would have thought the recent bushfire smoke would influence our research way offshore? Well, surprisingly it did. With reduced visibility, at times down to a third of a nautical mile, the trusty crew of RV Whale Song found Tiny and the Storm team approached for an effective deployment.

Photos by Micheline Jenner/CWR
In surreal smoke and haze, we were lucky to locate Tiny, even from the expert directions from the team aboard RV Whale Song. And given, the whales short surface intervals we felt even luckier to deploy a satellite tag as well.
RV Whale Song is barely visible in the bushfire smoke way offshore in the Perth Basin.
In the rising 4-6m swell and the hazy bushfire smoke, RV Whale Song almost disappeared.
Tiny, so-named for it’s distinctly small dorsal fin makes tracks across the crest of the increasing swell.
In the smoky conditions, Tiny only took 4 or 5 blows during each surfacing interval.
It seemed as though Tiny was also influenced by the less-than-ideal air quality.
In the bushfire haze, Tiny rides the swell showing its very small dorsal fin, as compared with the expanse of its huge body.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply