Playful Pectoral Slap HW19
This is a humpback whale calf (Megaptera novaeangliae kuzira) in Alaska playing in the late afternoon, slapping the water with its pectoral fin. This calf was accompanying its mother, who was one of the whales participating in bubble-net feeding with a large group of whales.
Bubble-net groups are dynamic, meaning that members join and peel off from time-to-time, so the number of participating whales is not constant. In this case, numbers ranged between six and twelve whales or so (it's difficult to be entirely certain) throughout the course of several hours.
This calf followed the progress of the group, but was not part of the actual cooperative foraging.
At one point, one of the whales in the group separated from the feeding, and the calf joined it. They stayed together for approximately half an hour, before the adult rejoined the feeding group.
The calf then went off on its own again, brimming with energy after the milk-fueled re-charge.
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