Filmmaker wants help in identifying whales

  • Andrew Stevenson wants help in identifying whales

    Andrew Stevenson wants help in identifying whales

Documentary filmmaker Andrew Stevenson wants the public to send him any photographs of whales they see around Bermuda to help with his humpback research.

Over the last few years he has been able to match whale flukes (tails) and determine that certain whales are passing by Bermuda year after year.

Matching flukes is part of Mr Stevenson’s Humpback Whale Research Project. In the past four weeks Mr Stevenson has made two matches thanks to photos passed on to him.

Former Royal Gazette photographer Chris Burville provided the first match. Mr Burville snapped the photograph while out in April 2007. The fluke matched another photo taken Mr Stevenson in April 2009. The second match took place on Wednesday.

Last week Bermudian Kelly Winfield gave Mr Stevenson a photo taken in May 2005.

On Wednesday Judie Clee sent him a photo taken in Cayman Islands, where she is holidaying, which matched Ms Winfield’s whale.

“These matches indicate the humpbacks seem to be coming back to Bermuda year after year,” he said. “It also shows how important it is for other photographers to send us their fluke identifications. If Chris and Kelly hadn’t contributed their fluke identifications we would have had no idea the same whale was here in 2005, 2007 as well as 2009.

“It all helps me to build up the data base of research and fluke identifications so that we can better determine the pelagic migratory behavior of the North Atlantic humpbacks.

“We have one humpback we call Harry Potter who has been here four seasons. I took two of Harry’s fluke identifications but the other two fluke identifications in different years were submitted by others.”

Humpback whales’ flukes have unique patterns on them making them easily identifiable.

Members of the public can send their photos to spout[AT] or call 777 7688 (77-SPOUT).

Mr Stevenson will be screening his award-winning documentary “Where the Whales Sing” on January 13 at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Tickets for the screening and lecture are available at the BUIE Gift Shop.

Members of BUIE can purchase tickets for $15 and non-members tickets are being sold for $20. Harbourfront Restaurant is also holding a dinner afterwards for $39.75. The film starts at 7pm.

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Published Jan 10, 2011 at 8:47 am (Updated Jan 10, 2011 at 8:45 am)

Filmmaker wants help in identifying whales

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