Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whales: Heads and Tails - Part Two

The "tails of whales" is a two-part tale. There is the dorsal side of the tail and the ventricle. Today, I have posted a series of dorsal views of the whale tails seen at Cape Spear last week.  It is often this view that makes spectators gasp.
 It is fairly easy to predict when the fluke will come out of the water. The back of the whale usually bows into a deep arch. Of course not all arched backs produce a view of the tail, but it does seem to always happen when the tail does break the surface.
Many times water will flow off the shelf of the tail creating a  natural waterfall that quickly disappears as the tail slips under the water.
It is thought that this tail action helps the whale to dive deeper. However, I am not sure that is always the case. I did see some feeding whales who were skimming food just under the water line, rise up quickly and show their tail. Perhaps it propelled them a little faster into the food pool. I have done some reading about the behaviour and identification of whales.  I quickly found that like identifying species of birds by their look and behaviour, the same is true of whales. Frankly, I am not ready to go there yet as I still have too much to learn about bird watching and gardening. Maybe another year.
For now, I just want to enjoy the sights and sounds of all things nature and not spend my time studying. I guess it is like going to an art gallery:  Some just want to enjoy the experience of the art. Others want to know the artist and the history of the work. Both types of patrons are able to fully enjoy the exhibit.

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