On Sunday afternoon, I departed Sea Crest Hotel & Marina to redeploy Wildlife Acoustics’ SM2M passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) device. After getting our hands on this nifty gadget (thank you Wildlife Acoustics!) our first Bimini deployment was in July. The unit recorded successfully (phew!) and after taking a quick peek at the data, we made a few minor adjustments and waited for another chance to put it back at sea. Sunday was the day and only minutes from the chosen site, we saw dolphins! We didn’t want to ‘waste’ time until after the unit was secured, so we ignored them – believe me, that was a serious personal challenge! But, the task at hand was the task at hand. Thankfully, we learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t from deployment #1, so it was a pretty smooth process. Once the unit was all set, we got ready to pull anchor….and saw dolphins! Of course, I no longer needed to be quite so sensible, so I donned my snorkel gear and grabbed the still camera, hoping to get a photo of the dolphins checking out the ol’ SM2M. Apparently these juvenile dolphins, including Speedy (#78), Tilly (#87) and un-named #97, were too cool for the SM2M. Although they didn’t appear to directly investigate the unit, we’ll be able to hear their (few) vocalizations once it’s recovered.
Not longer after this first water entry, we caught up with the dolphins again and who appeared to be in two subgroups. I think Speedy was in one, while Leslie (#80) and her calf and Tilly and un-named #97 were in the second, along with two bottlenose dolphins. By the time I was in the water with the MVA, the bottlenose were gone, but I did get some good recordings of the remaining spotteds!
Oh – and you caught those ID#97 references above, didn’t you? What a good DCP follower you are! That’s right, we recently added two new juveniles to our Bimini Atlantic spotted dolphin photo-ID catalog - #s 096 and 097! Welcome to club!
Until next time,