A whale of a time for Melburnians

Whale and calf

Keen-eyed Melburnians have been treated to an eventful whale-watching season this year, with a record number of reported whale sightings in our bays.

Port Phillip and Western Port bay have played host to a range of majestic sea creatures including whales, orcas and dolphins.

Mandy Watson, Senior Biodiversity Officer from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning said, ‘Most whales seen in the bay are humpback whales on their winter migration northward to Queensland waters for breeding. They probably call into the bay to rest for short periods of time before continuing along on their migration’.

Watson says that sometimes southern right whales also appear in the bay. ‘These whales are much rarer than humpback whales but they do migrate to the southern Australian coast for breeding every year during winter and some appear in Port Phillip Bay for short periods of time.’

The Queen’s Birthday weekend in June is traditionally the start to the whale watching season as both Humpback and Southern Right whales migrate north to breed, however whales were spotted as early as May 2017, making it the earliest confirmed sighting on record. The whales will typically make the return journey to Antarctica in October.

Image credit: Department of Environment Land Water and Planning