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Humpback whale        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Humpback whales are medium-sized rorquals with extremely long winglike pectoral flippers.   There is a lot of color variation, and each individual seems to have unique undertail patterns -- very useful for population studies.   Humpbacks are also known for their frequent acrobatic leaping (if a 40 ton animal can be acrobatic), and the haunting long courtship (?) songs given but adult males.   These were photographed in Monterey Bay, California, some from boats and some from shore with a long lens (the latter were feeding and in the bottom left image, leaping small fish can be seen).

  • Canon 7D2 or R7; 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X extender or 100-400 Mk. II zoom (2016, 2022)