Finding mammals in Sydney (Marine mammals)

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Humpback whale diving

One of the most exciting things that happens off Sydney coast is the Humpback whale migration.

The whales migrate past Sydney twice a year. From April to mid August they are heading north to give birth and mate in the waters of the Coral Sea off ’s northeast coast.From mid August to mid December the Humpbacks as heading south to return to their Antarctic feeding grounds.

On their way whales engage in a number of observablebehaviorssuch as breaching, spyhopping tail andpectoralflip slapping, which makes them so interesting to watch.

Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whale breaching

Pectoral fin slapping

Pectoral fin slapping

Pectoral fin slapping

Pectoral fin slapping

During one of my days on the harbor, our boat got surrounded by a pod of Pygmykiller whales (Feresa attenuata). These species are very rarely seen and their appearance caused a fair amount of excitement. Unfortunately, the sea was quite rough and it was raining – not the best scenario for photography.

False killer whales

Pygmy killer whales

False killer whales

Pygmy killer whales

Other whales occasionally seen off Sydney coast are: (), Minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis), Killer whales (Orcinus orca), Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus),Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis), Short finned pilot whale(Globicephala macrorhyncus)and even Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) – the biggest living mammal. And the underwater Brown Mountain about 14 km off shore from Sydney is known to be Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) feeding site. I haven’t seen any of these species yet, so big hopes for this year. The best tour operator by far is Halicat tours, that venture out further from the shore in search of whales.

Apart from whales, Sydney coastal waters are home to Common (Tursiops truncatus), Common or Short beaked dolphin (Delphinus delphis),Risso dolphin (Grampus griseus) and Pan Tropical Spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuate),as well as Australian fur seals (Arctocephaluspusillus doriferus) and fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri).

Common Bottlenosed dolphin

Common Bottlenose dolphin

Common Bottlenose dolphin

Common Bottlenose dolphin

Common Bottlenose dolphin

Common Bottlenose dolphin

Margarita Steinhardt

Margarita Steinhardt

is a wildlife ecologist by training but more of a naturalist by inclination. She has graduated with Master of Wildlife Conservation degree from Macquarie University in Sydney and is currently based in Australia. Margarita has been photographing wildlife for a number of years, throughout her work and travels in Thailand, India, Africa, and Russia, as well as Australia. What drives Margarita is the excitement of a new destination and new species to be found and photographed there.

Margarita Steinhardt

Margarita Steinhardt

Margarita Steinhardt is a wildlife ecologist by training but more of a naturalist by inclination. She has graduated with Master of Wildlife Conservation degree from Macquarie University in Sydney and is currently based in Australia. Margarita has been photographing wildlife for a number of years, throughout her work and travels in Thailand, India, Africa, and Russia, as well as Australia. What drives Margarita is the excitement of a new destination and new species to be found and photographed there.

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