Some play, some feeding, some hanging out, some chases and some poking and prodding – all were on the behavior menu today.
I was able to follow not too closely today because the visibility was still more than 7 m and clear. This allowed me to watch some neat behaviors, of course when Ken was not filling the viewfinder with his body or face! About 20 min into the first session, I was following Bailey and Cedena with Paya, Alita and Anthony all in view, too. Over a shallow (1.5 m) sand patch, Bailey just dropped to the sand and went prone on her belly. Anthony and Ken immediately started rubbing their genitals on her while Cedena and Alita were rubbing and pushing her back and forth. After about a minute, Bailey got up and all swam a circle before moving out of view. Except for Anthony who repeated Bailey’s drop to the sand, but slightly on his left side. This all seemed like play to me.
The second session began as a siesta, which led to lunch for all dolphins less than 2 years old (Anthony, Bailey, Mrs. B’s calf, and Carmella’s calf). Anthony also decided it would be great fun to mouth my fins, play around me, and bump up under me. Ken rubbed me with his pectoral fin and continued his eyeball examination of the inside of my housing through the front port. Maybe they were actually observing me this session?!
Tomorrow brings me to my final data collection sessions of this season. I am hoping the good visibility holds and that Carmella swims close enough for me to see what sex her calf is – this information still eludes us, though I am sure not them.